Parents enthusiastic as Jersey City schools plan to reopen for in-person learning after all

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — It’s a classroom shuffle that sparked a movement among parents in Jersey City. 

When the school district shelved plans this week on bringing students back into the classroom due to what they said was a staff shortage, parents like Jennifer Sforza weren’t having it.

The mother of three banded together with others to take a stand, planning a rally outside the Board of Education district office Thursday morning.

However, an announcement came in late Wednesday that the schools superintendent decided to change course again, announcing that students in Pre-k through 3rd grade will return to school on April 29 and students in grades 4 through 12 will be back on May 10.

“To think about how happy they’re going to be, to see their friends for the first time in 12 months in a classroom, to have that piece of normalcy back into their lives – I know they’re going to be so happy,” Sforza said.

Mayor Steven Fulop even took part in festivities commending parents for mobilizing.

“They all made plans based on what the Board of Education said that we’d be opening this week, and to abruptly change course on Sunday night — it’s really unacceptable,” he told PIX11 News.

Despite just eight weeks left in the school year, officials are using this period back into the classroom as a test-run for September when students are expected to go back full time.

While there was plenty of enthusiasm at Thursday’s rally, a recent survey completed by Jersey City public school parents revealed that less than 40% of them plan on sending their child back to in-person learning.

Tatiana Martin is among those parents with concerns.

“This works for us, we feel like our kids are safe at home,” Martin said. “We feel like our kids have gotten a good education, and the teachers have put in the work.”

Martin, a mother of a 10-year-old public school student, said her child has excelled in his studies while learning from home.

“To just show the one side I feel like negates all that work, especially all the work the kids did.”

Another major concern for parents is safety protocols inside schools.

According to the district, $23 million have been spent on upgrades, which include plexiglass barriers, thermal scanners and PPE.

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