West New York Education Association comes out against in-person learning

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The West New York Education Association has come out against a school reopening plan approved by the board of education, indicating that they feel it is too early for any scenario that involves in-person learning.

Screenshot via West New York Schools.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I just don’t think this is the right time to be going back in the buildings. Look at what’s going on across the state: no outdoor dining, the governor’s updates about increased [COVID-19 cases] and transmission rates: I don’t think this is the right time,” WNYEA President Anita Kober told HCV.

She added that while the district’s proposed rotating schedule, which has A, B, and C groups, also gives parents the option to keep their children enrolled in remote learning, she would have preferred a day dedicated to deep cleaning each building.

Other aspects of the district’s plan include social distancing on buses, along with wearing face covering when this is not possible, preventing classrooms from sharing any equipment, along with providing disinfectant stations in classrooms and sanitizer dispensers in hallways.

Public and private schools have been closed statewide since March 18th, following an executive order by Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

The governor announced at the end of June that all school districts must provide parents with a remote learning option and that any additional plans would be up to each individual BOE.

On Monday, he revealed that the state Department of Education had decided to mandate that all students be required to wear face masks while in class “unless it would inhibit the student’s health.”

Still, Kober still has reservations about September 10th and 11th reopening dates (to accommodate a staggered schedule) given that the state’s coronavirus rate of transmission has steadily been above one percent for weeks as the amount of disclosed new cases continue to climb.

She is hopeful that by the end of the month, Murphy and other state leaders mandate that schools start the year off with remote learning – the Bayonne Public Schools have proposed an idea that would have all September classes done virtually.

“If the governor’s not allowing indoor dining, if he’s keeping indoor gatherings to groups of 25, how can we be opening schools?,” Kober questioned.

In a Facebook post by the WNYEA, they also expressed concerns about overcrowding, noting that 25 percent of the middle school’s capacity is still about 300 people, and students potentially sharing or trading face masks.

The West New York BOE approved the proposed plan, which now requires a review from the state DOE, by a vote of 7-0 at last night’s meeting which was conducted via Zoom.

Trustees Joseph Rodriguez and Damarys Gonzalez were absent.

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