Montclair, NJ – Montclair Education Association, citing rising COVID-19 infection rates and expressing concern “over the district’s lack of communication and clarity over the decision to go back into the buildings on January 19, 2021,” is calling for Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds to postpone hybrid learning. Students are scheduled to return for hybrid learning beginning January 25.
In a statement, MEA President Petal Robertson writes:
“We are calling on Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds and the Montclair Board of Education to make the pedagogically sound and the safe decision to continue remote instruction. Our goal is to never be adversarial but instead to always be advocates. Advocates for our staff, educators, students, to not return to buildings until the numbers are mitigated and steady enough for all to do so. It will also allow our district to develop and disseminate an
explicit and comprehensive plan for all staff returning, and allay any parent concerns for their student’s safe return.”
The MEA refers to an announcement by Ponds on November 11, 2020, where he stated:
“Unfortunately, the data I received this morning demonstrates an increase in community spread of COVID-‐‑19. It is with a heavy heart that we must continue with fully remote instruction for all students until it is safe to change course. The health of our community, students and staff is paramount and pausing our hybrid plan at this time is in the best interest of public health due to the increase in the rate of infection.”
The MEA compares the rate of infection on the day of Ponds’ November statement, 1.14, and averaging 42.8 cases per 100k people, to the current rate of infection –1.15, with cases per 100k people at 65.4.
The MEA also states that with limited people in Montclair school buildings, school buildings have already been shut down 11 different times this school year.