Here we go again. My God. We all breathed a sigh of relief at the beginning of the 2021/2022 school year. Our public schools were finally back to in-person learning and virtual was not even generally an option for parents.

This was a good thing. While a noble effort virtual learning absolutely failed to meet the goal of truly educating our kids. Some parents possibly got a peek behind the curtain of just how tough the job of a New Jersey school teacher is when done right.

Now coming out of winter break with a new variant upon us huge districts already had called for a return to virtual learning for two weeks. (Only for a few weeks, gee doesn’t THAT sound familiar?) New Brunswick, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Trenton, Paterson, Camden and New Jersey’s biggest district, Newark.

Many others announced one week of remote instruction including Rahway, Woodbury, Bridgeton and Hackensack.

But what really takes the cake? What could be worse than ineffectual remote learning? Calling for it at the very last minute, the night before kids are supposed to go back.

My 6-year-old son’s district sent an email at 5 p.m. Sunday saying how they were returning to in-person learning and additional safety measures were being taken. All was full steam ahead.

Then about two hours later at almost 7 p.m., the night before they were supposed to go back, another email came out saying due to COVID-19 infections they had lost so many bus drivers and so much staff that in-person was impossible. Us parents were told to stand by for more information on how our kids would be home tomorrow on virtual learning.

So they expect us to believe between 5 p.m. and 6:52 p.m. is when they suddenly realized they didn’t have enough substitutes, enough staff and not enough bus drivers to open? It’s a great district. I don’t in any way fault the teachers either because they are being thrown headfirst under the bus with this last-minute pivoting. And maybe the district really didn’t know until that late, but it doesn’t seem likely. Yet they have to understand families have lives and jobs and responsibilities.

The optics are terrible.

Parents left scrambling for work options, PTO decisions, babysitters, etc. A logistics nightmare thrown at every family in the district at the last minute. And without so much as a compassionate apology for the late timing.

I’ve heard from parents around the state this was happening Sunday night in their districts too. Are we to believe it’s a one-day closure? Will this be a week? A month? Until spring break?

The uncertainty sucks. Virtual learning sucks.

The only thing that sucks more is throwing this at a working parent at the last possible moment.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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