Schools Were Set to Reopen. Then the Teachers’ Union Stepped In.

Montclair isn’t any abnormal city.

The mayor, Sean Spiller, is the No. 2 official at the statewide lecturers’ union, the New Jersey Education Association. The president of the native lecturers’ labor group, Petal Robertson, is competing for a leadership job at the affiliation. And certainly one of the governor’s prime political strategists, Brendan Gill — an Essex County commissioner who can also be the township’s Democratic chairman — lives there, as does the state’s new training commissioner, Angelica Allen-McMillan.

Montclair can also be house to an array of outstanding journalists, lecturers and tv celebrities.

All this provides the battle outsize relevance in a state the place the governor, a Democrat working for re-election, has repeatedly mentioned that he needs college students again in colleges, however has executed little to require it.

Montclair’s lecturers’ union has mentioned that communication with the superintendent, Dr. Jonathan C. Ponds, has been poor. Information and reviews about air flow and different security measures at school buildings weren’t offered, they mentioned, and a meeting with union leaders was canceled, leaving them with little confidence in his assurances that the colleges had been secure.

The union has additionally famous that instances of the virus are extra prevalent now than they had been over the final two months, when the district delayed earlier plans to reopen.

In a slide present presentation to the superintendent, the union requested: “With case of transmissions on the steady increase, even more since the holiday breaks, is now really a good time to return to in-person instruction?”

On Friday, the state reported 4,437 new virus infections; Essex County officers mentioned that day that there have been 14 new instances in Montclair.

Only the elementary colleges had been set to reopen on Monday; center and excessive colleges had been anticipated to reopen in two weeks.

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