March 25, 2021
Dear P.E.A. Member,
As you know, Superintendent Shafer is planning to return to in-person instruction for both staff and students on May 3. While the P.E.A. has continued to express reservations about the conditions of our buildings for re-opening, we have been working with the District to try to resolve some of these concerns.
In that spirit, the District provided us with a copy of a safety check-list that they intended to use when they conducted their inspections. Similarly, we shared with the District our plan to utilize our building delegates to conduct health and safety walkthroughs to ensure rooms are properly ventilated, adequate PPE is available, etc. Unfortunately, despite our attempts at transparency and cooperation, Ms. Shafer now has decided that no P.E.A. delegate will be permitted to conduct a health and safety walk-through prior to April 21, less than two weeks before the schools slated to reopen. This leaves scant time for the P.E.A. to verify whether the District’s assurances that buildings are safe are, in fact, true.
The P.E.A. is committed to nothing less than a safe environment for Paterson’s students and staff. To that end, while we will continue to attempt to work with Ms. Shafer, I am encouraging ALL TRAINED DELEGATES who attended yesterday’s delegate meeting immediately to begin walkthroughs of their worksites (unless your building, such as EastSide and NRC, has been closed due to quarantine.) The more delegates available to assist, the more thorough the walks will be. Please begin walkthroughs immediately following the end of your regular contractual work-day. Additionally, as a courtesy, please notify your principal via email and the chief custodian of the date and time that you will be present. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are denied access or if the building administration is otherwise uncooperative.
Of note, on March 31, the Paterson Board of Education will be conducting a special board meeting to determine if it is safe to reopen. It is vital they hear from YOU about what school conditions are really like, as the Board only knows what the Superintendent tells them. I urge you to begin the walkthroughs now so up-to-date information will be available to present at the board meeting.
Finally, please be sure to check the P.E.A. website later today. Both copies of our checklists and the March 24 training provided to all delegates will be posted.
John McEntee, Jr.
President, Paterson Education Association