MANALAPAN, NJ – The NJEA, the state’s public school teacher education union doesn’t want their teachers or students returning to school in New Jersey in September. This week, the NJEA’s president reiterated her union’s defiance towards a return to school this fall.
NJEA President Marie Blistan praised the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) for their call to put student and staff safety first as school districts grapple with preparing for the start of school year unlike any other. In an op-ed titled Why New Jersey Should Decide Right Now to Start the School Year with Statewide Remote Learning Pat Wright, Executive Director of NJPSA, the organization representing more than 6500 school administrators calls, for schools to open remotely in September.
Patricia Wright, the executive director of the NJPSA said there’s lack of universal health and safety in New Jersey for students and teachers to return to school.
“With the calendar having flipped into the hazy month of August, traditional thoughts of “Back to School” enter our collective consciousness as students, parents, and educators prepare for a return to fall learning,” Wright said. “Yet, rising infection rates, new scientific data on the health impacts of COVID-19 on children, intractable congressional logjams on critically needed funding for school safety measures, and a lack of universal health and safety standards for all New Jersey schools threaten any heartfelt goal of safe school openings statewide.”
This situation is certainly not from a lack of commitment, desire or effort. School leaders, principals, superintendents, and teachers have spent countless stressful hours attempting to plan for the unplannable — a safe school reopening amid complex uncertainties in staffing, supply chain delays in personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary equipment, the changing desires of parents, and a virus that seemingly changes course on a daily basis.
“This is an important statement from the people who, alongside NJEA members, are charged with ensuring the safe operation of every school building in New Jersey. Despite every effort to find ways to bring students safely into school, they have concluded that the only safe way to open school this fall is to begin remotely. New Jersey should heed their warning that our schools lack the resources, the guidance and the preparation time needed to ensure that our schools are safe enough for the students we all care so deeply about. I’ve raised those same issues many times, and I’m glad the education community is united in our determination to safely educate our students this fall.”