Certain Jersey City teachers shocked to find out they’re expected in classrooms tomorrow, JCEA pres. says

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Certain Jersey City teachers were shocked to find out today that they’re expected in classrooms tomorrow, local teachers union President Ron Greco said this evening.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

This afternoon at around 12:52 p.m., Superintendent of Schools Franklin Walker sent out an email indicating that all staff would have to report tomorrow, without exceptions.

“As shared previously, all employees are expected to return to work in person tomorrow, April 15h, 2021, including those that requested accommodations. Accommodations will be reviewed and approved by the building administration based on the District’s obligation to educate students,” Walker wrote.

“The next two days are critical to set up classroom and prepare for in-person learning.”

However, according to Greco, this was the first any of the 3,800 or so teachers and staff heard about this, wondering what those with pre-existing conditions or who need to find child care are supposed to do now.

“It’s not fair for people who have medical conditions: People who have medical conditions, I’m sorry, I wouldn’t send my mother into some of these filthy schools … If you’re fearful of going into the building, take a sick day,” Greco said in a phone interview.

While many teachers who wanted to receive the COVID-19 vaccination have done so, not everyone has received their second dose yet (or waited the recommended 14 days after their second dose).

Greco also indicated that it will be extremely difficult to safely isolate staff, since a school isn’t built to have “hiding places,” expressing further concern that teachers may be replaced by substitutes – even if it’s for a brief time frame.

“I’ve started calling this ‘educational deprivation:’ how can you do this to children? Where the hell are we going to get substitutes?”

In a letter to district staff yesterday, Walker welcomed educators back to school and thanked them for their continued hard work throughout the pandemic, also pointing out that principals will be meeting with anyone who asked for accommodations based on health risks.

The current plan is for teachers and students to come in on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with class being dismissed for the day at 12:45 p.m. and all faculty will use the COVID-19 screening app on the district’s website.

Students are currently scheduled to return to the classrooms on April 26th.