‘If you want to do it, do it right’

Last month, in conjunction with the Coalition for Healthier Schools, the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) issued “The Pandemic vs. Schools,” a national call to action emphasizing the importance to districts of having a solid plan before reopening.

WEC is a Trenton-based labor coalition that typically concerns itself with workplace health and safety issues.

“Schools can either slow the spread of the virus or speed it up,” the report reads.

“Right now, schools across the country are struggling to come up with these plans on their own,” a task, it argues, for which many are ill-equipped to respond on the fly.

Healthy Schools Now campaign organizer Heather Sorge said an unprecedented absence of federal guidance for public school re-openings has resulted in uneven school re-openings across the country. She hopes that districts will take the time to create rigorous health and safety plans before returning to in-person instruction.

“I know there’s a big rush to return to normalcy,” Sorge said. “However, if you want to do it, do it right.

“We don’t want to go backwards, and we certainly don’t want to rush to find out that we were wrong, and that we started too soon, or that we didn’t have the right things in place,” she said.

“We can’t be too careful when it comes to the health and safety of our staff and students.”

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