With schools across New Jersey wrapping up the 2019-20 school year after spending 12 weeks or more in remote instruction, attention is turning to the impact that COVID-19 has had on students, educators and public schools and how the current global pandemic will affect public schools in the upcoming school year. To address many of the questions and concerns that educators have and to share educators’ expertise and perspectives, NJEA has released its Education Recovery Plan, a comprehensive overview of the issues with questions and recommended approaches and solutions.
NJEA President Marie Blistan said of the report, “Educators must remain at the center of these discussions and the health and safety of students and staff must remain the top priority. No one better understands the day-to-day realities of public schools and the challenge of keeping our students safe in this difficult time. Whether we continue remote instruction, return to in-person instruction or utilize some combination of those, the challenges will be great. NJEA members are in the best position to understand those challenges and address them in ways that prioritize health and safety while still focusing on the educational and other needs of our students. Formulating a plan for next year that does not rely heavily on the expertise of educators and health professionals will result in dangerous conditions and poor educational outcomes. Any plan that is formulated must be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances in order to protect the health and safety of students and staff.”
From the beginning of the COVID-19 school building closures in March, NJEA has worked closely with the New Jersey Department of Education, the Murphy Administration and other educational stakeholder groups to ensure a safe, smooth transition to remote learning. The return to learning in September, in whatever form that takes, will require even greater communication, coordination and input from educators to ensure the best outcomes for students.