Bloomfield Public Schools had created a series of safety videos to assure families and staff of their readiness to reopen in person learning on November 30. However, Superintendent Salvatore Goncalves, in a statement Tuesday night, said the district won’t welcome students back to school until January 25 for in person learning (teachers will return for live instruction on January 19).
Goncalves suggests in his statement that teachers did not feel the district could open in hybrid mode safely.
“As your superintendent of schools, I fully recognize that I stand as your instructional leader for our approximately 6,600 K-12 pupils. However, I fully recognize that prior to teaching and learning, my first responsibility rests in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our pupils, employees, and larger extended families.
I am very proud of the work my central office team has accomplished these past seven months despite the overwhelming obstacles presented by this pandemic. Clearly, this has been an unprecedented burden that no one was prepared and no one in this community can be blamed; our role has been taking proactive measures to ensure continued safety and continuity of our teaching and learning process during the shutdown.
This stated, it has become apparent to me that members of our community, and in particular our Teachers Association, have taken exception with the assurances we have attempted to provide in terms of our environmental readiness to open up school in a hybrid/virtual model beginning on November 30, 2020. Although I recognize that nearly 400 of our fellow New Jersey operating school districts have implemented a type of live/ hybrid instruction model, I believe we have encountered an obstacle in realizing our plan to re-open in person. I am regretful yet compelled to announce the continuance of our K-12 fully virtual learning plan through the winter intersession. Please understand that I do not take any of these decisions lightly and indeed, I have my own personal frustration regarding this delay because of all the dedication and hard work my team has exhausted in the process to ensure a return to responsible live instruction.
I know that the extra time will provide the administration the opportunity to work with our contracted professionals to provide the Association leadership the opportunity to become more appreciative of the nearly $600,000 the district has already spent on PPE for returning to live instruction during this continuance of this pandemic.”
Read the entire message here.