I know this has been a difficult school year for everyone. I understand feelings of frustration that many parents are feeling, and I recognize the mental health implications that are very real and very dangerous for vulnerable students. I also recognize a new superintendent who is working hard to make multiple parties happy under incredibly difficult circumstances.

There is no playbook for any of this. However, the teachers are not to blame for what is happening right now. Teachers have been showing up and adapting to new realities all year long.

We owe them a debt of gratitude for their commitment. We are still in the middle of a deadly pandemic with a particularly contagious strain circulating. COVID-19 is spreading in our schools, without any students even in the building. It is a scary, deadly, highly contagious virus.

I am hoping as a community that we can extend patience while we ensure all of our teachers and staff get vaccinated before returning to in-person instruction. We are close to that milestone.

In the meantime, perhaps the district and teachers can be flexible with students that are truly struggling. Maybe make electives elective for those that can’t sit at a computer for that length of time and explore ways to care for the mental health of students that are having a difficult time with the enormously tall order we’ve asked of them.

They are young and need us all working together to make the best of a truly impossible situation. Teachers, parents and students have shown remarkable patience and flexibility during an incredibly challenging year. Let’s come together as a community to care for one another as we near the finish line.

Deirdre Birmingham
Montclair


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