Schools in Paterson will continue virtual learning until mid-February, announced superintendent Eileen Shafer on Wednesday night.
Shafer cited increasing Covid-19 cases in Paterson and New Jersey to recommend schools remain closed and continue virtual learning.
“We are going to make another assessment at the workshop in February to see if it’s safe at that point to return to in person,” said Shafer. The workshop meeting is scheduled for February 10, 2021.
Schools in Paterson closed in March and never reopened. School officials distributed Chromebooks to facilitate remote learning.
School board members backed Shafer’s decision.
“I can tell you firsthand that the phone is ringing here regularly, as it pertains to COVID deaths, and we’re just one funeral home in the third largest city in the state of New Jersey,” said school board vice president Manny Martinez, who runs the Martinez Memorial funeral home on Market Street.
370 people have died of Covid-19 in Paterson since the pandemic began. Paterson reported 181 new infections on Wednesday.
“These are going to be difficult months,” said longtime school board member Jonathan Hodges. “I truly believe that it would be prudent for us to wait to see where we are in February, and go from there.”
School officials had hoped to re-start in-person schooling in late January.
“I think the most important thing is to keep our children and the staff who serves them safe and alive,” added Rosie Grant, executive director for the Paterson Education Fund.
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