Several big US school districts are extending remote classes into the fall

People wearing masks walk past a public school in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City on July 8. Public schools have been closed since March.

(CNN)School districts across the country are being forced to reconsider their reopening plans and even reverse course for the upcoming school year, as coronavirus infection rates continue to spike and new hot spots emerge.

With conflicting opinions and contradictory plans continuing to emerge, here is where school reopening plans stand in big cities.

Los Angeles and San Diego

    California's two largest school districts announced Monday that schools will not open for any in-person instruction when the academic year starts in August, and that students will continue to learn remotely. Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District are the largest school districts to date to forgo any type of in-person instruction.
    Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a video announcement that more information on the details to the start of the school year will be shared "in the coming weeks" and that "our goal is to welcome students back to school as soon as it is safe and appropriate for us to do so." LA's district is the second largest in the country.
    The announcement comes just days after United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents 35,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, called on schools to remain closed and focus on remote learning in light of the climbing number of coronavirus cases.
    "It is time to take a stand against Trump's dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk," said UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz in a statement. "We all want to physically open schools and be back with our students, but lives hang in the balance. Safety has to be the priority. We need to get this right for our communities."
    The decision to keep schools closed in Los Angeles and San Diego goes against mounting pressure from the federal government to open schools as soon as possible.
    President Trump reiterated his call for schools to reopen on Monday, citing that children's immune systems are "much stronger" than adults after previously threatening to withhold funding from states that refuse to open for in-person instruction.
    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos echoed Trump's sentiments about returning to in-person instruction on CNN's State of the Union over the weekend. "Kids need to be in school," DeVos said. "They need to be learning. They need to be moving ahead. And we can't -- we cannot be paralyzed and not allow that or not be intent on that happening."

    New York City

    For the largest school district in the country, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan for schools to reopen for at least some in-person instruction in the fall. Proposing three models of staggered in-person instruction, de Blasio's blended learning plan would allow for in-person attendance to range from one to three days a week.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that in order for in-person class to be allowed, a region must be in Phase 4 of reopening, which New York City is not. School districts also must be in regions where the daily infection rate remains at 5% or lower over a 14 day average. Cuomo said final decisions on reopening will be made during the first week of August.


    Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring announced Monday that Atlanta public schools will start the first nine weeks of the school year virtually. Under Herring's proposal, the start of the school year will be pushed back from August 10 to August 24.
    The first two weeks of August will be used as preplanning for teachers. August 17 through 21 will be a mostly virtual period where students and teachers can get ready for the start of the school year, which could include some in-person, small group interaction. Herring said this period would be used to assess students' ability and give students the opportunity to meet their teachers. Herring said the situation in Atlanta would continue to be monitored and reevaluated as the school year progresses.
    "In the perfect scenario, we would have a face to face engagement for the first day of school," Herring said during the virtual board meeting when making the announcement.
    The Atlanta superintendent's office shared results during Monday's meeting from a poll of parents and teachers on their readiness to return. The poll was conducted through June 30, just before some of the peak numbers Atlanta is seeing now. According to the superintendent, 37% of participants want school to be fully virtual and 57% want the delivery model of instruction to be in alignment with health recommendations. The poll found that 72% of teachers and 67% of bus drivers were at least somewhat uncomfortable returning to work in person.


    Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa expressed growing concern about being ready in time to reopen schools by mid-August, given the spiking rates of coronavirus in his district.
    "We were planning on this for a while, so initially I thought we would be ready but I'm starting to have second thoughts about can we actually pull this off by August 17," Hinojosa told MSNBC last week.
    Following the superintendent's comments, the school district tweeted that the Board of Trustees "will convene later this month for a special called meeting at which time, the administration may make recommendations for an alternative start date for the 2020-2021 school year."
    Earlier in July, the Texas Education Agency released its plan for reopening schools detailing that families will have the option of face-to-face or virtual instruction.


    Detroit Public Schools opened their doors for summer classes on Monday, the first-time students will be allowed back for in-person instruction since doors were closed in response to the pandemic. Detroit will offer both in-person and virtual learning courses, and families are given the option to decide which model they prefer.
    Roughly 4,000 parents signed up for voluntary summer school, with more than half choosing in-person instruction. Roughly 300 teachers signed up for 180 spots to teach in person.
    The summer term, which runs through August 6, requires students and staff to wear face masks, practice social distancing, answer questions on a health form, and have their temperature checked. Classrooms and buses will also be disinfected daily.
    Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he sees a "desperate demand for face-to-face learning."
    "The online learning wasn't ideal and our children have fallen further behind" Vitti told CNN.


    The Houston Independent School District will begin its school year September 8 with all-online instruction for six weeks. It then plans in-person instruction beginning October 19.
    This is a significant change from previous tentative plans for a mid-August reopening date, most likely implementing a hybrid model.
    Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan announced Wednesday that those dates are still subject to change based on Covid-19 conditions across the city.
    Parents will have the option to opt out of face-to-face instruction entirely for the fall semester and 2020-2021 school year. Parents who select online-only must attend a virtual class outlining expectations and sign an agreement committing to virtual learning.