Public schools in Elizabeth, New Jersey are moving to an all-remote format this fall, according to an announcement by Elizabeth School District spokesperson Pat Politano, who spoke exclusively with NJ.com
“As of Monday, 375 teachers have notified the district that they cannot report to work inside a school building in September due to health-related issues,” Politano said, adding it would be a “mathematical impossibility” to hold in-person classes without hundreds of teachers.
As a result, the Elizabeth School District voted Monday to keep its school buildings closed and to hold all-remote classes.
However, state law mandates some in-person learning options to be offered by the school system, and the state’s Department of Education is required to sign off on the Elizabeth School District education plan.
“There would be insufficient staff to open safely in person with that many teachers unavailable for in-person instruction,” Politano pointed out.
All the teachers who said they could not return for “health-related reasons” submitted medical documentation in writing and doctors’ notes, according to Elizabeth Education Association President John Griffin, who told NJ.com, “They are scared. (And) I don’t think you’ll be able to find substitutes at all.”
The Elizabeth School District said it intends to keep the school buildings closed, despite the mandate from the state.