PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Schools in Paterson have been closed for more than a year.
Now, the district is preparing to reopen, while the teachers union is pushing back.READ MORE: 18-Year-Old Saadiq Teague Arrested After Being Spotted With AK-47 At Times Square Subway Station
As CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, a demonstration showing safety measures in schools — from partitions at each desk to distancing markers — will be presented during Wednesday’s board of education meeting. That’s where commissioners will consider a plan to reopen schools on May 3.
“I definitely wish that schools can reopen because I really do think that kids need that,” said parent Karoll Madera.
Superintendent Eileen Shafer said, first, extra funding was needed to make schools safe. Air purifiers alone cost nearly $7 million.
“We had to wait for all of this to come through in order to say we’re ready. As we speak we’re still working on it,” Shafer said.
The plan is to have students on a hybrid schedule — in-person two days a week — after not being in school for more than one year.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In New York: Walk-In Appointments Offered To All New Yorkers Over 50 At City-Run Sites
“If they’re not ready today, they’re certainly not ready to take a vote,” said John McEntee Jr., the president of the Paterson Education Association.
The Paterson Education Association is calling for a delay of the board’s vote on reopening until the union can do a thorough inspection of each school.
The district scheduled walkthroughs days before the proposed reopening, when the upgrades are complete.
“If you couldn’t fix something within 13 months, and you told us certain things were in place and they’re not, how on earth can you do it in less than 10 days before reopening,” McEntee said.
Meanwhile, Rosbeli Balbuena hopes to return to school.
“I miss my everybody. I miss my teachers and my friends,” she said.MORE NEWS: Discarded Tombstone Spotted On Empty Lot Raising Questions In Paramus
But her mother is still on the fence.