Despite objections from union, Shafer forced Paterson teachers to appear in-person for preparation day | Paterson Times

Despite objections from union, Shafer forced Paterson teachers to appear in-person for preparation day


Despite objections from the teachers’ union, superintendent Eileen Shafer had teachers and other employees report in-person to schools to prepare for the hybrid 2020-21 school year.

School officials said 77 percent of the district’s nearly 4,000 employees came to work on Tuesday. Some staff members, who feared getting infected with Covid-19, refused to show. Shafer had threatened to dock their pay if they refused to appear for preparation day.

Staff members reported issues at some sites. For example, staff members arrived at the New Roberto Clemente School and were allowed inside the building. The school’s principal later announced staff had to leave and wait until security arrived to conduct temperature checks, according to an account provided by a teacher.

Temperature should be taken prior to someone entering a building for it to be effective.

John McEntee, Jr., president of the Paterson Education Association, the teachers’ union, said this incident proves the district is “unable to properly protect” teachers and other staff members.

“Should the members at NRC have now been exposed to an asymptomatic colleague, they now chance community spread,” said McEntee.

School board president Kenneth Simmons on Tuesday morning said he was not aware of that incident.

Other officials confirmed the incident took place.

School officials said the district took precautions to avoid spread of the virus. Staff had to take a six-question survey asking them about symptoms. Those who answered negative to the six questions were allowed to enter the buildings. They also had to go through a temperature check, according to officials.

McEntee called Shafer’s move “misguided.” He said Shafer is ignoring the school board’s resolution that stated the district would be all-remote through November 1.

Shafer’s amended re-opening plan states nurses, guidance counselors, child study team members, principals, vice principals, supervisors, registrars, and school secretaries have to come in in-person.

Shafer’s spokesman, Paul Brubaker, did not respond to questions about the incident at the New Roberto Clemente School, on Tuesday morning.

It’s not clear how many other school buildings had similar problems.

McEntee said multiple sites had problems.

Shafer had teachers come in to prepare their rooms for opening of in-person instructions on November 2, take part in principal meetings, get classroom rosters and student contact information, and retrieve supplies and materials needed for remote instruction.

School officials will decide whether to resume in-person classes for students in late October.

Staff were given cloth masks on Tuesday. Cloth masks are considered inferior to N-95, but they do provide some protection when used properly.

Shafer barred teachers, who refused to appear in-person, from logging in remotely for the meetings, training, and professional development.

“Please be advised that there is no working from home tomorrow remotely. Therefore please do not provide staff with an option to log on remotely to your meetings, trainings or professional development. Tomorrow is an in person work day for all staff,” Shafer wrote to principals at 10:03 p.m. on Monday.

McEntee said that memorandum showed the district isn’t interested in preparing educators for students. He said it’s Shafer engaging in a “cruel vendetta” against teachers and staff for daring to speak up against unsafe working conditions.

“Not allowing educators to participate in these PD sessions hurts students,” said McEntee.

Shafer and the teachers union had been on good terms for the past three years, but that has changed as the district and the union argued over whether to have in-person classes.

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  • HankMorgan

    Look at dead eye grin.
    Hopefully, Jay, you’ll be able to follow up with a report on any COVID-19 infectious outbreaks among the attendees.

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    sad fact is the teachers especially older ones at the top of the pay scale are worth more dead than alive to the district. 1) The corrupt board of ed wants the best teachers dead or gone to they can "save" money (which will go to charters or the politically connected). 2) They think they can bring in cheaper recent grads (though no one wants to teach in Paterson which Montclair State and William Paterson teacher colleges equate to professional suicide, they dont even send student teachers anymore) hence all the unfilled positions run by an army of ill prepared substitute teachers. 3) inexperienced teachers or not as effective as veterans as countless studies show. A failing system along with defunding is the Charter M.O to justify their expansion…in short ITS ALL PART OF THE PLAN

    • Miss jamaica

      You are always on point. Well informed. Totally agree.
      Thanks you once again.

    • HankMorgan

      Wish I could like this twice!

  • John Brown

    Why does Paterson keep hiring the worst Superintendent s on the planet?.

    • saintdubu

      and why does paterson keep increasing her pay by thousands every couple of months???

  • Justice Forall

    Are these the same teachers who’ve been out of their homes and been inside of supermarkets, pharmacies, and other public places? You really must wonder if these same teachers, who are actually adults by the way, are really fit to teach if they enter NRC despite those screenings and protections were not immediately available, but then complain when they’ve done it! John McEntee and his union are truly miracle workers when their ridiculous actions and statements make Eileen Shaffer look competent.

    • HankMorgan

      Agreed. PEA threatened to strike if in-person classes were required. But almost 80% walk in for a day of meetings. It’s almost like, why have a union? I don’t agree that their actions make Shafer look competent, though. They make her look like a stupid, cruel, vindictive pinhead.

  • John

    These Unions are.deploables. This Liberal leftest progressive socialist Democrat party.litterally destroys minority community's and most living there don't even realize it.

  • John

    So she wants to open up schools and the democrats ok everything else.except opening up schools and the readers here are against her. Democrats wake.up, the Democrat partymhas created your proverty and lack of thinking.

  • John

    Democrats stop whinning and get.over it (2016) Open up your schools, the kids of Paterson ate already stupid enough, don't make them stupider.

  • John


  • rashida bradley

    As a parent of a child who is in the Paterson Public School System I agree with the teachers. It is just not safe. And before anyone says the children in Paterson are studpid…..MY CHILD IS NOT AND NEITHER AM I, COLLEGE EDUCATED not everyone from here is stupid,ghetto, or anything else demeaning.

  • John

    good she went against these useless unions