Dear Editor:

I want to preface this letter by saying, I didn’t want to do this. I mean, write this letter. 

I wanted to believe that the kinks would somehow work themselves out. I can’t seem to shake the disappointment that is gripping me. 

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I want to make it clear that the views expressed in the letter are not that of the school board nor am I writing this letter to share the board’s sentiments. The position I am taking in this letter is my point of view and not the board’s. 

As a parent of 2 children in the Paterson Public Schools district who both have Individualized Education Plans, I am gravely disappointed. 

As talented as my daughter Kaniyah is, it breaks my heart to see how frustrated she is about this virtual learning environment. 

While we all are completely aware that COVID-19 has temporarily stalled a majority of in-person instruction, we cannot negate the fact that for children with IEP’s, 504’s and/or restrictions or assistances to help give them that much-needed push, virtual learning is proving to be an extremely difficult task. 

Many instances need that in-person connection that a computer just can’t provide or mimic.

I’ve been saying this from the start. Our special education population is at an enormous disadvantage with the virtual learning model. 

As a board member, I completely understand the need to make certain buildings are 100% safe prior to beginning a hybrid model, but as a parent who happens to have 2 children in the district that need one-to-one instruction, I am concerned about what will happen to those children? 

Again, like my daughter and son, who need an extra push to get through the school year, how will this model help them in the long run?  

I want to reiterate the fact that I am a parent BEFORE a school board member. I do realize that this letter could set off a firestorm. However, I cannot ignore the feeling of being extremely disappointed in this process. 

I understood that Paterson Public Schools is doing all they can to navigate through this epic journey called “COVID-19” which has become our new reality. A new reality which we all have had to adjust to. But I pray things get better soon, for all our sakes. 

Especially for the students who need that extra in-person push to ensure their academic success. 

Corey L. Teague 

Corey L. Teague is a member of the Paterson Board of Education