Parents flood Secaucus school board meeting to demand return to in-person lessons
Parents in a Hudson County town flooded a school board meeting to demand that their children return to class full time and in-person.
The Secaucus parents say that remote learning is failing their children and that they want the kids back in school as soon as possible.
But Superintendent Jennifer Montesano says that this can’t happen just yet, blaming increased enrollment and safety concerns.
This was the first in-person school board meeting Secaucus has had in 14 months. And before the parents could make their request, Montesano told them flatly, "Our current enrollment is what has prevented our district from providing more in-person days."
In a prepared statement, the superintendent said the district can't break CDC guideline and place more than 12 students in a classroom. She cited upgrades to ventilation, bathrooms and PPE. She then made an offering for the weeks ahead.
“It is clear that providing students in-person instruction with a hybrid A-V cohort as we have now, but extension to full-day is the best plan to end our school year” Montesano says.
But a continuation of hybrid instruction seems to fall short with parents.
"With all of the data available to us on transmission among children, pitfalls of virtual learning and with vaccines now available, it is still too clear to me why we don't offer more in-person instruction,” one parent said.
It should be noted that statewide, more schools are reopening under mandates from President Joe Biden and Gov. Phil Murphy. Data shows 142 districts are all in-person, 98 all-remote, 534 hybrid and 37 are a combination of instruction.
All of the parents said that remote learning is just not working.
“For many students with disabilities, younger learners, remote learning is the equivalent of no learning at all,” another parent said.
It was unclear why some districts can return to fully in-person, while Secaucus cannot. Neighboring townships like Rutherford are full-time, five days a week. The Secaucus Board of Education says they're just following the rules.