NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) — After spending the first three weeks of the new year learning from home, students in New Jersey’s largest city returned to in-person learning Tuesday.
The return follow what has been a tumultuous series of weeks for Newark, which saw a record number of COVID-19 cases. For now, that trend appears to be on the decline.
“We’ve had a little good news,” Mayor Ras Baraka said. “Our numbers are starting to decline. As we continue to go down, we pray that this is the end.”
The positivity rate in the city remains about 28%.
While some had their reservations on returning to the classroom, Newark teachers union president John M. Abeigon said his members — who currently boast a 95% vaccination rate — believe the worst is now behind them.
One of the biggest obstacles for the state’s largest school district, Abeigon said, is to get more parents to sign parental consent forms to have children tested at school
“Before we send your child home because he has the sniffles … we could just do a quick test on the child and determine if it’s just the sniffles,” he explained.
Currently, 20 percent of the state’s school districts are still on a remote schedule — Paterson among them. Officials there cited concerns over its community infection rate.
“As a father, it pains me to see,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said. “We will hopefully be moving in the right direction soon.”