#childsafety | ‘I’ve Lost a Lot of Faith’: Suburban Parents Push Schools to Reopen Faster

“We had an influx of students from the public sector wanting to come into our schools quite simply because we were open,” said Vincent de Paul Schmidt, the superintendent of schools in the Diocese of Trenton, which operates 42 schools. A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark said its 74 schools had seen a similar uptick in admissions.

St. Gregory the Great Academy, a Catholic elementary school in Hamilton, N.J., near Trenton, has a waiting list for the first time since 2007. The principal, Jason C. Briggs, said 45 new students had registered next year for the school, which charges $5,775 in tuition.

“The interest in enrollment is shocking, to be honest,” Dr. Briggs said. “I have not even placed an ad.”

South Orange-Maplewood, a district of about 7,000 students, has had one of the most convoluted reopening rollouts in the state.

Last week, a judge overseeing a lawsuit the district brought against its teachers union, said sixth- and ninth-grade teachers should report to school later this month, joining the kindergarten through second-grade educators who had already returned.

The district, in a statement, called it “an important and critical step in the right direction.”

A representative from the union, which has cited building conditions for employees’ reluctance to teach inside schools, said that court-facilitated agreements on building repairs had not been completed.

“The association has been working diligently to conduct walk-throughs so ‘fit’ rooms could be identified for more grades to return,” a spokeswoman, Meredith Barnes, said in an email. “The educators even went in on weekends to prepare the rooms. They are eager to return to in-person with their students. They just want it safe for all involved.”

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