NYC students face tough choices as in-person classes return

Remote classes weren’t 19-year-old Guerly Lizie’s favorite way to learn, but they allowed the West Brooklyn Community High School student to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic even as her life changed dramatically.

After Lizie’s mom lost her job early in the pandemic, the teen found full-time work at a home health aide agency so she could chip in, while squeezing in online schoolwork at night after work.

Then when Brooklyn rent prices became too much for the family to afford, Lizie moved to New Jersey with her mom and sister, figuring she could keep up with Zoom classes at West Brooklyn.

But now that city officials have mandated in-person classes for public school students, Lizie — two hours away from her Brooklyn high school — faces some wrenching choices.

“I was like, ‘What do I do?’” she said. “That whole college dream just kind of went away, that was the hard part.”

Students across the city restructured their lives during the pandemic, finding the newfound flexibility of remote learning let them take on the long hours at paying jobs — or move. And while some students are having little trouble readjusting to in-person schooling, others are finding the switch back more complicated.

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