Educators, school staff members, students, parents, and community members around the state have been expressing their concerns about schools actually being safe for face-to-face learning in September. After a statewide discussion, consensus was built around some key points. 1) Instead of starting in-person learning this September, all schools should be focused on a phased-in approach that allows educators, school staff members, parents, and students focus on making sure proper sanitation protocols and training are in place, including “Right to Know” trainings, professional development for trauma informed learning, and robust remote learning. Relationships need to be established between families and staff to support our students for the 2020/2021 school year even before buildings are opened. 2) School buildings should not reopen for in-person instruction until we have reached a benchmark of 14 days with no new cases. 3) All local associations must be equally represented on school reopening committees. 4) All school staff and students are provided with necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 5) New Jersey must apply for an additional ESSA waiver for standardized testing for the 2020-2021 school year. 6) The state continues to uphold a moratorium on new charter schools and extends that moratorium to include the expansion of existing charter schools.
We only have one chance to get it right. One life lost will be one too many.