The city is anticipating a much higher enrollment in summer school than previous years because of the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic to the school system, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

The Department of Education is expecting 177,700 students in grades 3-12 to attend remote summer lessons, de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced at a press briefing. Many students fell behind after in-person schooling went online March 23rd because they didn’t have internet or devices for remote learning, had to care for siblings or sick relatives, or were ill themselves.

“It's quite clear that you take away months of the school year in the much more effective setting of everyone being together in a school building where teachers can use all their skills to maximum impact, of course it's going to have an impact -- and it's going to be a negative impact in a lot of cases,” de Blasio said. “So unquestionably more kids need the help than would have been true in a traditional year, but we also have tools to work with to get that done.”

The DOE said it’s difficult to compare the anticipated enrollment to past years on an apples-to-apples basis since new categories were added this year:

"There is no apples to apples comparison when looking at summer learning in years prior," said DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson in an emailed statement. There were 44,000 students in required summer school courses last year. This summer, "we are still serving students in required summer learning (102K)," she said, and added "we are also adding a new category of students who will be recommended to attend summer learning (48K).”

“The required summer learning numbers are also not directly comparable because for the first time, we’re including high school students who receive a Course in Progress or who need to retake a previously failed course,” Filson said. The number of students with disabilities will be taking summer school remains the same compared to last year.

The last day of school is June 26th. An estimated 67,000 students in 3rd to 8th grade will have summer school remotely via the internet from July 13th through August 18th for four days a week. An estimated 83,000 high schoolers will have summer school July 13th through August 21st for five days a week, with up to five hours of daily instruction in courses that they did not pass.

Summer learning will start July 1st through August 13th for 27,700 students with disabilities who are on 12-month school plans, with 5.5 hours of instruction and related services five days a week.

Educators will be asked this week if they want to sign up to teach summer courses, Carranza said: “I hope that many of you decide to continue to teach in the summer, we need you in our students need you, applications will be open this week and we occur encourage our educators to apply and to our families.”

An inquiry to the United Federation of Teachers union was not immediately answered.

The full details of summer remote instruction were not immediately released, but it will include individual guidance counseling as necessary, some pre-recorded segments, and scheduled fun by way of “virtual field trips” and social clubs.

“Remember, distance learning creates challenges but also creates a world of possibilities. And for so many kids this summer will be a chance to keep learning, either because they need a little extra learning in a little extra time or because it's something they want to do, to keep building up their academic strength,” de Blasio said.

The DOE is also going to have students attend summer school based on teacher evaluations: “This will either be on a required or recommended basis. And that is because teachers will make the determination based on each student's full year of progress,” Carranza said, and added “this year, they will take into account any challenges they've experienced in the past couple of months during the pandemic. Summer learning will be geared towards academic success in the fall, as the mayor has spoken on many times this needs to be the greatest academic year in our history."

De Blasio acknowledged the challenges for the city’s kids as they look forward to a summer without their usual recreation or youth employment opportunities.

“It's been tough so far on our kids. It's going to in some ways be even tougher, as the summer goes on,” de Blasio said. “We have to be really creative in supporting them really aware of all they're going through some of the things that any young person be looking forward to...all the summer activities: barbecues and baseball, basketball, concerts, whatever it may be...all those things now are on hold. And it's tough. So, we know that's a challenge that kids are restless, we know they're feeling let down. We know that kids are feeling isolated.”