Teachers voice concerns about returning to school for in-person lessons in September
Some teachers say that they have concerns over the plan to reopen schools for in-person lessons in September.
Gov. Phil Murphy has laid out plans to allow in-person education to resume in the fall. But some teachers say that they are worried about their safety and the possibility of becoming infected with COVID-19.
“There’s so many variables that could pose a pretty big risk,” says seventh grade teacher Marc Lazarow.
The governor has acknowledged that the reopening may not happen if it cannot be done responsibly but is still going forward with the plan for now.
“We can’t do it at the risk of health and safety for our students and our members," says New Jersey Education Association president Marie Blistan.
Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in situations where they cannot social distance. Each district will also have the freedom to tailor their reopening plans to fit their communities. The state is calling for each district to submit their list of safety measures before the school year begins.
But critics say that even this may not be enough to keep the virus out of the classroom.
“If there’s a student or teacher who has the virus, those students and/or teachers are going to have to be quarantined, so then you have the interruption of instruction through that,” Lazarow says.
Some districts have decided to go with a hybrid reopening, with some days of in-person lessons and other days with virtual lessons at home.
“I know that some of the districts we’ve spoken with have already determined that they cannot put things in place for students to come back safely,” says Blistan, adding that they want to spend time on enhancing remote learning.
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“This seems to be the safest path forward to provide the best quality education and to provide a continuous form of education,” Lazarow says.
Murphy announced Thursday a plan to bridge the “digital divide” and use grant money to purchase computers for under privileged students and enhance internet connectivity at home.