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Atlantic City schools are safe, operations director insists

Atlantic City’s students will continue to have in-person education at least through the winter break despite concerns raised by the city’s Education Association.
Thousands of dollars have been spent to make sure the district’s schools were safe for the students’ return, Director of Operations Atiba Rose said during Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.
More than 200 staff members have called out district-wide each of the first two days of in-person teaching that is part of a hybrid plan that has students attending school on different days.
Rose’s presentation was accompanied by a packet that listed the expenses that have been made and work done.
BreakingAC has requested a copy of the packet, and will share it when it becomes available.
Rose said the he “caught way off guard” by a story that ran Saturday detailing concerns the union has, saying that everything had been addressed, but that the Atlantic City Education Association president had not always given specifics about what the issues were.
The article talked about nothing being done about ventilation.
But Rose said there was no mention of ventilation to him.
He said an “air scrubber,” which was described by staff as a carpet dryer, ran throughout his speech, which showed it wasn’t loud as complaints had claimed.
Rose said he asked to speak at the meeting because “the integrity of the operation department has been attacked.”
Teachers, however, had a much different take, asking that the administration come visit their schools themselves.
Board member Al Herbert said he did go to the two schools that have reported the most issues: Texas and Brighton avenues.
He said he saw work was done, but suggested that those two schools return to all virtual until they could confirm all the issues had been address.
Herbert noted that the necessary filters for the so-called air scrubbers were on back order, and that maybe there should be a wait for those.
“Even if it’s just a week,” he said. “Just to show we’re doing our due diligence.”
Superintendent Barry Caldwell said that the students are already in a routine, although teachers pointed out each student only had one day back in school so far.
Some teachers urged Caldwell to reconsider in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the area, and the uptick statewide.
Two staffers in two different schools were confirmed to have the virus Tuesday.
Caldwell instead suggested that, since there will not be a lot of school days between now and the holidays, that the district reassess after winter break.

Check back for updates.

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