Jersey City Public Schools to remain fully virtual until at least September
New Jersey’s second-largest school district will stay remote until at least September.
The Jersey City school district was supposed to go to a hybrid schedule on Monday, but the plan was put on hold, meaning the district’s 30,000 students will stay with remote learning through the rest of the school year.
In a virtual meeting, Superintendent Franklin Walker cited a lack of staffing.
“Schools can’t safely welcome back students with that staggering number of teachers and paraprofessionals working from home,” Walker said.
More than 400 teachers and other staff had requested accommodation to work remotely through the school year. All of these requests were denied last week, and teachers were told to report in person the next day. Many did not.
“To give someone notice at 12 p.m., and maybe I don’t read that email because I’m teaching until 3 p.m. – that I have to be in at 8 a.m., a lot of people can’t do it because of child care issues or other obligations,” says JCEA union president Ron Greco.
Greco says that the teachers want to be back in school, but not to the detriment of the most vulnerable students and staff.
“I respect the thousands of children who will be home because parents are not confident their safety needs can’t be met. Same with our staff,” he says.
But some parents say that they want their students to return to the classroom.
“They’re not getting the proper learning they need without being in school. Everything else is open,” says Dyeisha Gosa.
Superintendent Walker did not return calls to be interviewed but said in the virtual school board meeting that the district will put all its resources into planning for a full in-person opening for September.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop called the decision an “absolute failure in leadership and planning.”