By Marie Blistan
New Jersey Education Association President
We commend Gov. Murphy for making the right decision to keep school buildings closed for the remainder of the school year. While we are saddened to know that we won’t have the opportunity to see our students in our school buildings again this year, nothing is more important than the health and safety of everyone in our public schools. NJEA members will continue to do all we can to provide our students the best education and support possible under these very difficult circumstances, for as long as it takes to keep everyone safer in this pandemic.
We know this is an educational loss for students. The very best remote education is no substitute for the in-person instruction and peer interaction that helps our students learn and thrive. That loss is even greater for students who lack the resources to take full advantage of the online tools that are so important now. The decision to extend this closure through the remainder of the school year makes it even more imperative that districts address those inequities and do everything possible to overcome them.
Part of our state’s long-term recovery from this pandemic must include a commitment to help our students, and particularly our most vulnerable students, recover what has been lost by closing school buildings. We know that NJEA members, who have done such a great job of helping students navigate this current challenge, are committed to doing that. Together, we will be even stronger, more successful and more resilient once our school communities have the opportunity to be together again.