Paterson teachers union demands better learning conditions as schools prepare to reopen

The Paterson school district gets ready to welcome back some students, but disputes with teachers union continue

“This is a great day for the city of Paterson. Our schools are reopened; our staff are all back in this week,” said Eileen Shafer, Superintendent of Paterson Public Schools. And next week, the doors will open to about 1,000 students. But the moment is not without controversy between the teachers union — the Paterson Education Association┬á— and the district.

John McEntee of the Paterson Education Association, said, “No one wants to open schools more than our teachers, secretaries, guidance counselors, but how could you … even expect students to come back knowing they could potentially be exposed to mold, inoperable HVAC systems, cockroaches, toilet bowls with disgusting rust all throughout. It looks as if the schools hadn’t been touched in 15 months and that’s really what it boils down to.”

WATCH: Paterson school district locked in dispute with teachers union over reopening

MORE: As Newark schools plan for the fall, questions remain about vaccination, safety measures, and family hesitancy