NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When the Newark Public School system reopens next month, students and teachers will continue with remote learning.
Virtual classes will be the new normal at least through mid-November, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
It’s a decision which we’ve seen time and time again with our area schools, and as usual it comes with mixed reviews from parents.
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If you gave 5-year-old Jemely and 8-year-old Jeriel the choice to learn at home or back at Park Elementary School, they said it would be to go back to school, “because it’s fun,” one said.
That was echoed by their mom, but for different reasons.
“They’re gonna learn more in the school than at home. They’re gonna have a teacher in the school. In the home, not. It’s gonna be mom,” Jailin Pabon said.
She admitted if they did go back to school in September, she’d have safety concerns.
“I’m gonna be scared because they’re gonna be wearing masks the whole day,” Pabon said.
The choice is now out of parents’ hands, as the Newark Board of Education took to Twitter to announce the upcoming school year “will continue to operate remotely for the first marking period, which ends on Nov. 17.”
DeAngelis met with the president of the Newark teachers union, John M. Abeigon, who is also a member of the district’s reopening task force.
“It was one of the first missions of the task force was to reopen when able, if able. There’s so much panic because of all the negative media of failed school reopenings that we couldn’t in this climate. We couldn’t reopen in September,” Abeigon said.
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He said initially about 75% of the union’s 4,000 teachers were willing to return, but that changed.
“That number has dropped to approximately 45% saying they were willing to return if it’s safe and 55% saying I’m not going in,” Abeigon said.
He said the decision to go all-virtual was a collective one by the task force, after Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week that districts could start solely online, if they cannot meet the requirements for in-person learning.
One parent said his son’s charter school, North Star Academy, is among those putting a hold on in-person learning.
“At the moment, we’re able to swing it. But once we all start getting back to work that’s when the challenge will begin,” the parent said.
“I just don’t feel safe having my child into school come September,” charter school parent Zoya Haye added.
Back to Newark Public Schools, CBS2 reached out to the mayor and the board of education but could not get either to speak on camera. DeAngelis wanted to ask if all students in the district were equipped with the proper tools for digital learning.
Abeigon said in the first few weeks of the lockdown, they got Chromebooks in the hands of as many students as possible.
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