This is our daily update following the reopening of NYC schools for Friday, November 20th, 2020.

Here's the latest:

A total of roughly 35,000 students will now be attending public school buildings for in-person learning, a 10% increase from the start of the school year, according to new opt-in enrollment numbers released by the city Department of Education on Friday.

The opt-in period for in-person learning — the only window given to parents the entire school year — drew 32,000 more students who were previously fully remote back to the classroom, and another 3,000 students who did not fill out their survey response form back in August, which automatically placed them in the full remote learning pool. Blended learning students have split their time between home and in a classroom during the pandemic.

While nearly 280,000 students have attended schools in person at least once (6,000 students have since opted back to fully remote), the majority of public school students have since been learning from home exclusively.

The data also showed that nearly half of the new in-person learners identified as Hispanic, signaling greater confidence in the school system when compared to earlier this year when Hispanic families opted for in-person than any other racial group.

The opt-in period — which ran from November 2nd to November 15th — represented the first and only time parents were able to decide whether to bring their children back to school for in-person learning. The decision to establish a one-time opt-in period, which the DOE said was intended to fix staffing issues at schools, seemed in line with the DOE's larger goal of allowing schools to expand the number of in-person learning days.

That assertion was bolstered by a statement from Katie O'Hanlon, a spokesperson for the DOE, who said the Department will be "working with schools to increase the number of days blended learning students are in buildings, and we’re excited for these students to join their peers when we reopen.”

Still, the one-time opt-in period roiled parents who had to decide whether to send their kids back just as flu season began. Their worries were compounded by fears of a second wave of COVID arriving in the city, and those fears were confirmed after cases began to climb at an alarming rate in the last few weeks, reaching a seven-day rolling average of 3%, triggering a systemwide school shutdown.

De Blasio said the closure will extend past the Thanksgiving break, with no word on when they will reopen. New in-person learners were expected to report to school for the first time on November 30th, though that date is now up in the air. Once they reopen, public school students will need to abide by the DOE's request to hand in consent forms for randomized testing and will need to commit to showing up in person. In-person students who do not arrive to school after a week or two will eventually be placed back to remote as a way of minimizing any staffing changes.

In-person learning has been endorsed by de Blasio, who finds that form of learning to be the most nurturing to students, a position also backed by Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

“We know that nothing can replace in-person instruction and blended learning families deserve as much time in the classroom inside their schools as possible," the DOE's O'Hanlon said.