PATERSON, N.J. — The Paterson Board of Education has authorized Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer to continue remote learning in public schools through at least May 3.
The city has not had in-person learning at all this school year.
This comes after the state’s department of health reported that there are 142 confirmed in-school outbreaks and 671 COVID-19 cases linked to students, teachers and other school staff in New Jersey. More than a third of the cases, 38%, are in Bergen, Passaic, and Essex counties.
This compares unfavorably to December, when the state reported 70 in-school outbreaks and 285 cases with only 15% of the cases coming from Bergen and Passaic counties. There were none in Essex County in December
“The increases of in-school COVID-19 cases among students and school staff in our region since December are a clear indication that it simply not safe for all students and staff to return to district school buildings,” said Board of Education President Kenneth L. Simmons. “I thank Superintendent Shafer and the rest of the district administration for their continued efforts to help the Board Commissioners make decisions for the well-being of our students, families and staff based on hard data and scientific facts.”
The board of education said that Paterson lags behind other parts of the state in administering the vaccine to residents. To date, only 2% of New Jersey residents have received both doses of the vaccine, including just 725 Paterson residents (less than 1%) as of Feb. 7.
“The COVID-19 pandemic remains a dominant part of our reality. As much as all of us are looking forward to the time when students and teachers can be together again in school buildings, that time has not arrived yet,” Shafer said. “We will continue to keep the safety of our students and staff as our top priority and do everything we can to make students’ virtual learning experiences as engaging and as effective as possible.”