New Jersey parents protest to reopen schools

Reopening Schools

WAYNE, N.J. — A group of parents in the New Jersey town of Wayne rallied outside Anthony Wayne Middle School Thursday, sending a loud message to the school board meeting inside.

“Their developmental years, the clock is ticking, time is running out, we pay their salaries. They should be fired for all of this, it’s a travesty,” said Kristen Kruczowy.

The group — now boasting 1,200 members — said they’re worried about the mental well-being as well as the education of their children. Parents and students were frustrated by a recent decision by the board of education to stop in-class learning until mid-February and go all remote until COVID-19 case numbers come down

“We’re watching our kids break down, they’re not equipped to do this, they need to be back in school, where the CDC says they need to be,” said Becky Bradley. “We’ve been creative in coming up with solutions to open everything else, why not the schools.”

Earlier in the week, there was a similar protest in neighboring Montclair, where it’s been full remote learning since last March. While these parents are calling for a return to the classroom, others would like to take a measured approach.

“I am not entirely comfortable with it until the vaccine is fully rolled out,” said Anthony Guselnikov.

It’s a situation parents nationwide are grappling with: whether to send their children back to school. President Biden has said he wants kids to resume classes within his first 100 days in office. Just Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control announced schools can reopen if social distancing and masks are properly enforced.

Thursday, the nation’s leading disease expert says the data backs that up.

“When you look at a community and look at the penetration of the virus in the community and the spread at the community compared to the school in the community, it’s less likely for a child to get affected in the school setting,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci does recognize the concern of teachers, as many of the teachers unions have been hesitant to go back to class.

“If they’re not comfortable returning to work, I’m not comfortable with them doing so. I’m not going to force them.”

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