Paterson will be ready to reopen in-person schooling on May 3, says superintendent | Paterson Times

Paterson will be ready to reopen in-person schooling on May 3, says superintendent


After being closed for more than a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Paterson school district will be fully prepared to reopen in-person learning for its nearly 30,000 students on May 3, said superintendent Eileen Shafer on Monday afternoon.

Shafer said there will be “layers of protection” to minimize the spread of the virus inside the district’s more than 50 school buildings. Students and staff will be required to wear masks and observe six feet social distancing rule. Students will receive tri-fold partitions for desks in classrooms. Windows will be kept open when classes are in session and offices are occupied. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed in every classroom, building entrance, and outside bathrooms.

Other so-called layers include:

  • Every classroom will be equipped with an Active Pure ionic air purifier for “continuous surface decontamination and air purification in real-time, using superoxide molecules and hydro-peroxides that destroy contaminants on surfaces and in the air.” The device is proven to eliminate common airborne and surface contaminants including viruses like the SAR-CoV-2 Coronavirus, swine flu and bacteria, mold, fungi, volatile organic compounds, smoke, allergens, and odors, according to the district.
  • MERV-11 air filters will be installed in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units “wherever possible.”
  • Air Scrubbers will be used in classrooms and offices that do not have windows for air circulation. They have HEPA filters.
  • Teachers will be provided disinfectant spray for personal use.

“With the several layers of protection in place, I am confident everything will be in order for our school buildings to reopen on May 3rd. Our Facilities Department and Security Department staff have been working to ensure all schools are ready to open,” said Shafer.

But the teachers’ union has raised concerns about safety inside the buildings.

John McEntee, Jr., president of the Paterson Education Association, the teachers’ union, wants the district to let his team conduct “safety inspections” in advance of re-opening the schools. He has more than 200 union delegates trained and prepared to inspect the schools to ensure they have the needed equipment and ventilation to ensure students and staff do not get sick after they return for in-person schooling.

“Windows are not opening. The buildings are a mess,” said McEntee. “Look, if the schools are ready and the school buildings are in pristine condition and they have all the things that they have advertised to ameliorate the spread of the virus, the association wouldn’t necessarily be opposed.”

McEntee said union officials were ready to begin inspections last week.

Shafer said union officials will be allowed to conduct safety inspections on April 21 and 22. But the union wants access earlier.

“If we could do walkthroughs sooner, we would. If we were ready today, we would open schools for in-person instruction and not wait until May 3rd,” said Shafer.

McEntee said conducting the inspections this late will leave little time for the district to adequately address defects uncovered during the walk throughs.

“That leaves at least ten days,” said school board president Kenneth Simmons. He said Neil Mapp, facilities director, informed him that’s plenty of time to correct issues. “It’s enough time for them to address it.”

Shafer has also launched an effort to vaccinate teachers and staff members before re-opening for in-person classes. Simmons said approximately 2,000 staff have been inoculated against Covid-19. That’s half of the district’s employees.

McEntee pointed out Shafer had initially said the district would decide whether to re-open in-person schooling in mid-April, but moved the decision date to March 31.

Simmons said the decision to re-open schools is also being driven by state exams. He said parents can still opt-in for remote learning. He said a survey that was conducted shows half of parents want their children back in school while the other half prefer remote learning.

“It’s literally split, 50-50,” said Simmons.

Simmons said he did not want to wait until September to begin the process to reopen schools for in-person learning. Governor Phil Murphy has said he does not want remote learning options in September.

“It’s kind of like a soft opening to see what works and what doesn’t work. I don’t think people are going to get used to the new norm until they actually have to begin practicing them,” said Simmons.

School board members will discuss re-opening in-person schooling on Wednesday. Simmons said a previously approved resolution gives the superintendent the authority to reopen the schools.

Email: [email protected]


    Why bother? The teachers love getting paid to do nothing

    • HankMorgan

      Wrong. They love teaching. They’re glad they get paid to do it. And it isn’t easy. I retired years ago but I’m pretty sure I would have had a tough go of it the last five years. Administrators love to keep the pressure on teachers. Then remote teaching. The logistics and technical savvy required to pull that off successfully. Add to that the fact that hundreds of not thousands of students who just gave up over the last year. That’s got to be psychologically crushing.
      Sure, they get paid but it isn’t nearly enough.


        They work six months out of the year, great pay, great benefits, and in the ghetto public schools most of the students are semi literate at best. The only education they receive is indoctrination into the left wing Hate America cult. The truth hurts I get it.

    • billy wolf

      YOU have never been in a College, how the hell would you know Cletus?
      Tell us all here what the constitution IS, in 5 words or less DROPOUT…


        LMFAO I'll bet this "dropout" makes more in a month than you do in a year on welfare.

    • MarquinhoGaucho

      That is B.S. y wife is up early, doing classes, entering attendance, grading papers, and calling these parents who change #s and don't even bother letting the school know or they don't even answer their e-mails. Then you get the semi literate parents who answer "boi avlar con eyos" instead of "voy hablar con ellos" (not that you would know the difference) ….then there is all the conversion of the old materials into online formats…she does not come to bed until 11pm -12Am sometimes. Hablas mucha mierda desgraciado


        The truth hurts I get it. The parents should learn English then right? If what you claim is true (which I doubt) then your wife is the exception to the rule in the ghetto. Suburban teachers are great. My kids receive an excellent education in my wealthy Republican run town. I'm talking about the lazy ones in the ghetto indoctrination centers. Come mielda pendejo

        • MarquinhoGaucho

          Look up tenure reform law…the days of being a lazy teacher are over, You get evaluated every year and you can get your tenure revoked and you get fired losing your pension everything. No teacher in their right mind is lazy if they like their benefits

          • OBED SANTOS

            Look up gun laws. They work great too… Are your wife's students semi literate while she gets paid a full time salary for pretending to teach on Zoom lmfao? (If you even have a wife you seem like one of those repressed incels)

          • MarquinhoGaucho

            She teaches, and the kids who want to learn do learn, because they come from good hoes and hardworking immigrant families. The problem is too many parents know how to breed them but cant take care of their kids or just dont care. Many kids who do well under supervision just dont have the support to do online. One thing this pandemic did was expose that (A) remote learning by these charter companies doesnt work, (2) The value of teachers.
            (3) As for semi literate students…talking from experience? There used to be remedial classes to raise kids level, but guess where the money went? Charters.
            Gun laws in NJ work great, I cannot buy an AR 15 in 10 minutes and go shoot a place up like in the redneck states. The gangs here dont have military grade weapons like in Brazil

  • bigron

    Shafer is a puppet. Just taking orders.