Jersey City Superintendent reverses back-to-school decision

After parent backlash and elected officials weighed in, Jersey City Public School District Superintendent Franklin Walker reversed his decision to keep schools closed until the fall now announcing that students will return on April 29.

After first planning to reopen on April 26, the district issued a robocall informing parents that school would in fact not open for in-person learning until September.

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Mayor Steven Fulop and even Governor Phil Murphy weighed in on the controversy, and parents planned a protest outside the Board of Education building.

In a letter to families on the district’s website Walker says schools will reopen next Thursday.

“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,” Walker said. “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.”

Now students from Pre-k through third grade who selected in-person learning with a 12:45 dismissal will return to school on April 29.

“The schools will group students into groups,” said Walker. “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.”

Fourth through 12th-grade students are scheduled to tentatively return to school on May 10.

“The District will share more information as we continue the process of making in-person learning available,” Walker said. “Parents continue to have the option to keep their children with remote learning through June.”