Help the parents of New Jersey get virtual choice

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my concern for the families of New Jersey who are put in a situation which can be dangerous.
Governor Murphy passed 2021/2022 school year to open with mandatory In-Person learning. Although I believe in-person learning is needed for the students to engage more with their teachers and to be more social with other students, but during this time with the Delta variant numbers reaching peaks in various states, it is not safe for those who have serious illnesses or disabilities.
We have to think about the children and their families who are elder or have a weak immune system. I myself have an autoimmune disorder. When I catch a regular cold, my body shuts down, being infected with Covid19 could be worse on my body.
Governor Murphy do not understand that the schools in the Jersey City District are not equipped to protect our children when you have full in person classes.

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How can you say my child is safe when:
* When there are 31 kids in a class
* When it is hot, kids are so hot they are sweating
* No/not enough air
* No AC in all of the classes
* Poorly ventilated and buildings with constant need of repairs
* No hand washing
* Teachers are forced to take control of an issue they have no control over
* 6th, 7th and 8th graders are switching classes. How can you have about 100 kids changing classes on one floor?
* Over crowded classrooms which can not be a good learning environment for anyone, but during a pandemic is not humane and is wrong on all levels
* Not all families are being cautious or teaching their children to be safe.
* parents are home schooling with no clue on how or just keeping them home with no curriculum

If those do not touch you, how about the fact that there is a teacher shortage, some areas do not have bus drivers, some of the buildings are so old you can not add Air Conditioners to all classrooms, plumbing issues, cluttered classes, or adding more pressure to the superintendent and administration in all of the schools to put contingency plans together in case of an outbreak. Do not forget that in the urban areas like Jersey City has violence daily, the focus of education has been lost in the covid struggle and it has to stop.

Governor Murphy needs to know this is wrong. Give parents who have kids with disabilities a choice, parents with immunosuppressed illnesses a choice, IEPs a choice, let people make a decision on their family circumstances.
Mandatory in person for all students is not a good choice at this time.

New Jersey Parents for Virtual Choice is a group of parents who have children with disabilities, have family members in the home with weak immune disorders, or the anxiety is so stressful that they are not able to work or function on a daily basis.
Please hear us when we say, “we are so scared and it is causing stress on our already stressful lives.” We need to be more compassionate to those who want an education for their children, safely.

Shanna Givens

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