MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The school district and teachers' union for South Orange and Maplewood have come to an agreement in mediation which will “will allow for a subset of our most vulnerable students to return to in-person hybrid instruction beginning on Monday, March 1,” said a statement from superintendent Ronald Taylor.

“Special Services self-contained and English Language Learners (students across all grade levels) and Pre-K students who have chosen hybrid-instruction, will return to school buildings for in-person instruction (following their pre-assigned cohort schedules) on March 1. At this time the District will continue to operate under our current instructional schedule... Teachers for these students will report to school buildings to teach in-person,” said Taylor in the statement, which was emailed to district families less than an hour ago and posted on the district website.

Anide Eustache, SOMSD communications director, said in the email to the press accompanying the announcement, “I do not have any additional information to share beyond what is being shared below, mediation discussions will continue with SOMEA until a full resolution is agreed upon.”

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“We’re very relieved that Cohort C and Pre-K students are going back; these are our most profoundly disabled students who have been having the most difficulty with virtual learning,” said Julie Fry, co-founder of SOMA Safe Return to School. The group has held two rallies to call for in-person learning. “This is certainly not enough, but I'm glad that the district and the union are making progress towards getting kids back to school.”


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