Last night, following an outcry from parents, plans for protests and criticism from local leaders, Superintendent Franklin Walker reversed course and set a plan for reopening Jersey City public schools. What follows is his email.
The District’s focus continues to be on doing what is best for children. When The District made the difficult decision to remain closed, that decision was guided by science and the realities of safely staffing a district of 30,000 students for in-person and remote learning simultaneously. I recently met with Members of the Board and the Teachers’ Union Leadership to further discuss reopening schools. The increased concerns of parents, especially those with young children, have made us reconsider the decision.
Starting Thursday, April 29, 2021, we will welcome the students from PK to third grade who selected in-person learning with a 12:45 dismissal. The schools will group students into groups. The all-remote group, a group A and a group B. During their in-person week, students will attend classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday will continue as a remote day for everyone to enhance our cleaning at the schools. The school will provide parents and guardians with the schedules.
We grouped grades to make the reopening feasible. The first group returning is PK to third-grade students. The tentative return date for fourth to eighth grade is May 10, and grades 9-12 may return on May 10. The District will share more information as we continue the process of making in-person learning available. Parents continue to have the option to keep their children with remote learning through June.
I will send a separate message to the staff explaining their schedules and District expectations. Our custodial and maintenance staff has worked very hard to get the schools ready. Thank you, and stay safe.