‘The stakes are too high’: New Jersey educators unite, call for public schools to open entirely remotely

Three statewide education groups are uniting, saying public schools should open entirely remotely this fall.

News 12 Staff

Aug 12, 2020, 3:04 PM

Updated 1,351 days ago

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‘The stakes are too high’: New Jersey educators unite, call for public schools to open entirely remotely
Three statewide education groups are uniting, saying public schools should open entirely remotely this fall.
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The New Jersey Education Association, Principals and Supervisors Association, and Association of School Administrators say it's just not safe to go back into schools.
Wall Township, like other local districts, plans to send students back in a hybrid solution, which includes several in-school learning days combined with at home virtual learning for the older students. Elementary schools would see in school classes resume, with early dismissal for all. There is an option for parents to keep their kids home for an all virtual school at least to start.
"I think you have to look at each individual district differently,” says Wall Township School Board President Ralph Addonizio. “It's not a global look, it's looking at the individual needs of each district. That's what we have been doing on a daily basis."
According to Lakewood School Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch, Lakewood public schools are planning for 100% in-classroom instruction to better fit the needs of the community.
"We've been planning since March and April,” says Inzelbuch. “The rest, many of the rest, have been sitting around pointing fingers at Trenton. You know what? Point fingers at yourselves. You all get paid, superintendents to do this. Stop whining and help kids."
Some school board members say they've spent hours following the guidelines set by the state to safely reopen, and students can still opt out of classroom learning if parents want to keep them home.
The associations are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to put a stop to inside classes. In a joint statement, they say, “Reopening schools for in-person instruction under the current conditions pose too great a risk to the health of students and school staff. The question of whether and when to reopen for in-person instruction is first and foremost a public health decision that cannot be left in the hands of nearly 600 individual school districts. The stakes are too high, and the consequences of a wrong decision are too grave. That is why we are calling on Gov. Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education to direct all New Jersey public schools to open remotely this fall.”
The organizations recognize the efforts made by individual districts to follow state guidelines to reopen safely. School boards and panels of experts spent hours and hours in meetings, sometimes many nights a week, coming up with plans, which are tailored for their respective districts.
Murphy on Wednesday announced that schools that cannot meet health and safety guidelines for an in-person start to the academic year can go with an all-remote option.
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