Art and Documentary Photography - Loading 210709-NYT_B.jpg
for The New York Times: Who's Happy About In-Person Summer School? N.Y.C. Parents.
josé a. alvarado jr.
Jul 12, 2021
Location: East Harlem
There were sparkly unicorn backpacks, Pokémon baseball caps and brightly colored hair bows among the hundreds of thousands of New York City students pouring into classrooms for the first day of summer school this week.

At Central Park East II, in East Harlem, a group of six students was reminded how to put on their masks properly, securely over their noses. Down the hallway, another group played an icebreaker game. “How are you feeling?” the teacher called out. “Nervous!” one fifth grader replied. And in the library, two students completing word search puzzles compared how tall they’d grown since they’d last been together.

“It’s important for my daughter to get up, get back in the building and into a structured lifestyle,” said Rasheedah Harris, who sent her child to the site at TAG Young Scholars, a school in East Harlem. “She’s happy being home alone, but her socialization skills are gone. We’ve just been home playing video games.”

Over the past school year, roughly 600,000 of the one million students in New York’s public schools, the nation’s largest system, remained in remote learning, often out of concerns about the health risks of in-person schooling. Now, many parents have decided that with virus rates as low as they have been in months, it is safe for their children to make a much-needed return to classrooms.
Photographed for The New York Times with words by Emma Goldberg and Precious Fondren.

Who's Happy About In-Person Summer School? N.Y.C. Parents.
With low virus rates easing safety concerns, more than 200,000 children have been enrolled in the city'€™s summer learning program.


José A. Alvarado Jr. is a visual storyteller devoted to documenting cultural and social issues, as well as human interest stories in the US and Puerto Rico.
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