UPPER WEST SIDE (PIX11) — Parents of the Booker T. Washington Middle School on the Upper West Side in Manhattan say they were caught by surprise when their kids’ back-to-school night was canceled.

The school sent out an email saying all teacher conferences must be held remotely due to an agreement between the city Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers. 

The school stated they were not prepared to pivot so quickly and had to reschedule, but no new date has been set. The DOE, however, said it’s the same policy that was in place last year and they decide to keep it because it allows for more parent engagement.

“Remote conferences ensure more consistent access to all families than the traditional parent-teacher conference and a parent/caregiver may always request an in-person conference,” a spokesperson said.

Parents who spoke with PIX11 agreed that video conferencing is more convenient, especially if it means fitting a meeting with a teacher into the idle of a workday. But they say touring the school cannot be done remotely.

The teachers union said parents can request a meeting with their teacher in person at their teacher’s discretion.