Schools In Paterson, N.J. Gear Up To Reopen

Schools in Paterson have been closed for more than a year. Now the district is preparing to reopen, while the teachers union is pushing back. CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Schools in Paterson, New Jersey have been closed now for more than a year.

MAURICE DUBOIS: But now they're getting ready to reopen while the teachers union is pushing back. CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas has this.

- I agree. It's maybe wrong of me to say, but basically--

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: This demonstration showing safety measures in schools, from partitions at each desk to distancing markers, will be presented during Wednesday's Board of Education meeting, where they'll consider a plan to reopen schools on May 3.

KAROLL MADERA: I definitely wish that schools can reopen, because I really do think that kids need that.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Superintendent Eileen Shafer says first extra funding was needed to make schools safe. Air purifiers alone cost nearly $7 million.

EILEEN SHAFER: We had to wait for all of this to come through in order then to say, OK, we're ready. And as we speak, we're still working on it.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: The plan is to have students on a hybrid schedule in person two days a week after not being in school for more than one year.

JOHN MCENTEE: If they're not ready today, then they're certainly not ready to take a vote.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: The Paterson Education Association is calling for a delay of the board's vote on reopening until the Union can do a thorough inspection of each school. The district scheduled walkthroughs days before the proposed reopening when upgrades are complete.

JOHN MCENTEE: If you couldn't fix something within 13 months, and you've told us certain things were in place and they're not, how on Earth can you do it in less than 10 days before reopening?

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Meanwhile, Rosbeli Balbuena hopes to return to school.

ROSBELI BALBUENA: Because I miss everybody. I miss my teachers and my friends.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: But her mother is still on the fence. In Paterson, New Jersey, Aundrea Cline-Thomas "CBS2 News."