WAYNE, NJ – Yesterday, Gov. Murphy cracked the door open to allow the possibility of an all-remote school opening if districts can demonstrate that they cannot meet all health and safety standards for safe in-person instruction. The Wayne Education Association (WEA) feels that the Wayne school district cannot meet these standards and are pushing the Wayne Board of Education (BOE) to move to an all-virtual plan for school in September.
“The Wayne Education Association is firm in their belief that the district's reentry plan falls far short in ensuring the health and safety of both our students and educators,” said the WEA in a statement sent to TAPinto. “As such, the WEA asserts that schools must remain virtual until the data indicates that it is safe to return.”
Although the COVID-19 numbers have remained relatively flat in New Jersey and in Wayne, WEA President Eda Ferrante does not believe that they will remain that way when schools reopen and students begin to spend hours together indoors.
"The cohorts may be smaller, but in the high schools, you have students changing classes every period, so it's not just eight or ten kids, its eight or ten kids times six periods every day," Ferrante said. "We have no idea what kind of impact this is going to have on the transmission rates and that's our concern."
"Do we really want to risk this with our children?" added Donna Reaver the WEA First Vice President.
The WEA said that they have sent “formal correspondence” to the BOE and to the school administration outlining the many shortcomings of the school’s reopening plan.
“Our children and our educators should not and cannot be the canaries in the coal mine for the virus’ wrath in Wayne,” the statement read.
Because of this, the WEA is “demanding” that the Wayne BOE and Administration schedule a meeting immediately to “make a declaration to begin the year with an all-virtual model and allow educators and parents the time and respect to properly prepare for what is the stark reality of the upcoming school year.”
“It is times like these that we need our leaders to step-up and actually lead from places other than behind,” the statement said in conclusion.
TAPinto reached out to the BOE President, Cathy Kazan and the Superintendent of Wayne Schools, Dr. Mark Toback.
While Toback has not responded, Kazan sent a short statement in response.
“The board is meeting next week,” wrote Kazan. “We have many members who are out of town and administrators taking well deserved vacation time. We won't be able to address any of this until next week. Our plan was just approved and submitted. It is the Administration's role to make any recommendations for changes, should they feel they are necessary - based on the Governor's latest press conference.”
The next scheduled meeting of the Wayne BOE is Thursday, August 20 at 7:30pm. This will be an online virtual meeting.