Many of New Jersey’s largest school districts return to in-person learning
Some of New Jersey’s largest school districts returned to in-person learning on Tuesday. Many of these students returned to the classroom for the first time in 2022.
In Jersey City, 30,000 students returned to class. The district had to resort to virtual learning because of COVID-related staffing issues. School officials reported that 368 teachers and aides had been forced to quarantine due to positive tests, postponing a planned return.
“On average, each school had about 20 teachers absent. This January, the number of sick workers is higher than the number of people who became ill during September, October, November and December combined,” says interim Jersey City Schools Superintendent Dr. Norma Fernandez.
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To ensure that there weren’t any further outbreaks, the district handed out COVID-19 testing kits to families over the weekend before allowing students to return to school. Some students did test positive and stayed home.
Jersey City wasn’t the only large school district in New Jersey victimized by the surge in Omicron and Delta cases following the holidays. Newark and Elizabeth both returned to in-person learning on Tuesday for the first time since late December.
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The Paterson School District had been planning on returning to school, but the district pushed back the return to Jan. 24.
Superintendent Eileen Shafer said in a statement, "It is our hope that our staff and students will take this time to get tested, get vaccinated, and continue taking all of the precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus."
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Paterson will provide COVID-19 testing for students and staff all week at select school buildings to ensure a safe return.
And starting next week, Jersey City will start to test students in school on a weekly basis. The district will be joining the test-to-stay program. Students who are exposed to the virus won’t have to quarantine, as long as they continuously test negative.