New Jersey’s second-largest school district has reversed its decision made over the weekend to stay with remote learning until at least September.
Jersey City School District Superintendent Franklin Walker on Wednesday announced that kids in pre-kindergarten through third grade whose families have opted to return to physical classrooms can do so next Thursday, April 29. The students will be broken up into two groups during their in-person learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Walker said.
Students from grade 4 through 12 can also return but the date for them is set for May 10.
Other students will still learn remoting and those in hybrid learning will have Wednesday as an all remote learning day so staff can disinfect the schools, according to the superintendent.
The latest reopening announcement came just three days after Walker told parents in a robocall that the district's 30,000 students will not return to school buildings until at least September, citing teacher shortage and other workers declining to return.
Walker said plans changed after he met with members of the Board and the Teachers' Union Leadership.
"The increased concerns of parents, especially those with young children, have made us reconsider the decision," he said in his announcement.
Just 20 percent of students told the district's survey back in March that they want to return to physical classrooms, NJ.com reported, and most families didn't respond. It's unclear whether those who opted out will have another opportunity to also change their minds.
The change also came after Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop called the delay "an absolute failure in leadership and planning" and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that he was "disappointed" in the decision.
Parents even threatened to protest at the Jersey City Board of Education on Thursday for the schools to allow their kids to return.
Mayor Fulop said the news is "a great step forward."
"Thank you to all the parents and teachers that were vocal + thank you to Superintendent Walker and the BOE members for revisiting the decision to close," he wrote in a Facebook post.