School officials have decided to close all Paterson schools due to concerns over the new coronavirus.
Schools will close from Tuesday, Mar. 17 through Mar. 31, 2020, according to officials. Students and staff are required to show up to their schools on Monday, Mar. 16 for a full day. Students will be given packets for home instructions at the end of the day.
Students are required to pick up their instructional packets and turn them in on Apr. 1, 2020 to receive credit and a grade for the days schools are closed. Students unable to pick up the packets on Monday can pick them up from administrators at their schools on Tuesday.
Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) is closed for students from Mar. 16 through 31, 2020. Teachers and staff will have to show up on Monday.
John McEntee, Jr, president of the Paterson teachers’ union, had called on the district to close all schools on Friday morning. Superintendent Eileen Shafer had been initially opposed to closing schools. She said at a press conference on Friday schools would close if a “serious situation” arose. No incident has occurred in the district, according to officials. School officials said she changed her position after governor Phil Murphy publicly stated schools will have to close at some point in New Jersey.
Paterson has nearly 30,000 students. It is New Jersey’s third biggest school district.
Shafer has partnered with the Paterson fire department to provide meals to students during the closure. Meals will be distributed at neighborhood firehouses from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students and parents should go to the firehouse closest to their residence.
Updated 3:34 p.m.