“... We have noticed a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases reported this week.“

This, according to an email from Montclair schools superintendent Jonathan Ponds on May 15, to parents in the school district. In fact, on May 15, the seven-day average in New Jersey was 4,751, up from 3,566 a week earlier, and we were receiving almost daily COVID notifications from school. So does Ponds believe that an increase of 33% from the previous week is a drop? Or is he lying to make it easy to tell people they don’t need to mask? No other options to choose from.

Some people like to pretend that things are going great when they aren’t, and it’s called magical thinking by psychologists.

Do you want a guy who doesn’t know the simplest facts that a fourth grader knows, or can’t get sliding windows open during a pandemic for six months, to be in charge of your kids' health and safety? Do you want him to be in charge of school security and lockdown procedures in an active shooter situation? These aren’t insignificant decisions like who is throwing the PTA party or what color lockers we will purchase next year, things that parents tend to obsess over. Some things are actually life-threatening and you need a real doctor to make decisions.

Competent adults, starting with the school board, need to get to work and bring real credibility to our district. Bring in an experienced leader who speaks honestly, and with some credentials that show he or she can do this job.

Justin Klabin
Montclair

Editor's note: A message from superintendent Jonathan Ponds sent to families May 15 said what while New Jersey's weekly COVID-19 Activity Level Report had risen to the high/orange level for Essex County, officials had noticed a drop not yet reflected in those reports. His message didn't specify whether that was particular to the district, county or another area. The school district's online coronavirus tracker reflects a dropoff in known school cases during the week beginning May 16 — 70 student cases from May 16 -20, compared to 138 May 9-13, and 131 May 3-6. The district does not currently conduct in-class testing. As of the COVID-19 Activity Level Report issued for the end of the week of May 21, all New Jersey counties were listed as areas of high transmission.


Montclair Local’s Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local. 

Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email letters@montclairlocal.news, or mail “Letters to the Editor,” PO Box 752, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer’s name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.

Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by the Sunday prior to publication to be eligible for use in any Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.

Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our “Town Square” banner. “Town Square” essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to letters@montclairlocal.news at least seven days prior to publication.