Teachers voice concerns about returning to the classroom in the fall amid pandemic

Gov. Phil Murphy has stated that schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person instruction in September.

News 12 Staff

Jul 28, 2020, 2:42 AM

Updated 1,360 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy has stated that schools will be allowed to reopen for in-person instruction in September.
Although parents can choose all-remote learning for their children come the new school year, teachers are still being asked to lead in-person instruction, which has some educators concerned for their safety.
“If done safely, I believe we must try to include at least some aspect of in-person education for our children this fall,” Murphy said.
But this has some teachers asking, “At what cost?”
“Even if one student or teacher…in the school system gets COVID, because we went back to school, then I think the whole idea has failed them. Is it worth that risk? Is it worth one, two, three? How many?” asks seventh grade teacher Scott Mazzella.
Mazzella says that he is in favor of remote learning this fall. He suggests hiring supervisors and using school buildings to accommodate students without at-home adult care.
“You could have them go in and do the exact same remove learning in the school, using school equipment, suing school Wi-Fi,” he says.
While parents have been given the opportunity to select remote learning for their children, teachers have not been given the same option. Some say that they are worried about their own health.
“I do think in fact that not giving teachers the choice – the same choice that all the other parents get – is a little bit unfair,” Mazzella says.
And what about teaches expected to go back to school who may be medically high-risk or live with someone who is high-risk?
The governor’s office tells News 12 New Jersey in part, “Gov. Murphy and the Department of Education have been in regular and near-daily communication with school administrators…These conversations are ongoing and the Governor remains committed to finding collaborative solutions that prioritize the safety of both students and staff."
But Mazzella says that this is about everyone’s health.
“Your job is to create a safe, effective learning environment,” he says, adding that he believes remote learning will help provide this for all stakeholders.


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