NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The Paterson Board of Education voted Wednesday on the first dates to have students and teachers return to the classroom in person.
Teachers will return to the school buildings on Tuesday, June 1. They will work Monday through Thursday in person and remotely on Fridays.
Students in select Special Education and English Language Learners programs will return to the buildings the following week on June 8.
Officials say this will give teachers a week to prepare and get used to the new normal.
Students will attend school on a hybrid schedule and will attend class remotely on Fridays.
"Just as the emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic is happening in stages, the reopening of Paterson Public Schools buildings will happen in stages," said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. "With teachers returning to their classrooms on June 1, they are coming back to where they are at their professional best and where they can get comfortable with the technology they use to teach. While I know that this past year has been challenging for all of our students, we also know that it has been especially challenging for our special education and ELL students without the in-person educational experience. That is why they will be able to return to school buildings on June 8."
Officials said it's an important first step the district is taking toward restoring normalcy.
"With this decision, the Board of Education has decided that we will reopen with a one-step-at-a-time approach," said Board of Education President Kenneth L. Simmons. "This decision serves many of our special needs students and their families, while maintaining a safe environment for our students and staff."
The board's decision came after two days of walkthroughs of the district school buildings at the end of April.
Shafer said nearly $20 million has been spent to provide several layers of protection against COVID-19, including but not limited to partitions, air purifiers, air scrubbers and hydroxyl blasters.
Meanwhile, Passaic schools are one of the districts in New Jersey that remain remote only. Gov. Phil Murphy called on all districts in the state to return to in-person learning by the end of year.
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