Only When It’s Safe- Week of Action

Dear SCEA,

As the pandemic rages, many of us have grave concerns about schools reopening in September and are incensed that we have to risk the lives and well-being of our students, colleagues, families, and communities. We’ve all adjusted our ways of life to include PPE and social distancing, but this is simply unfeasible in public schools. 

If we cannot sit down inside a restaurant, how can we be safe in a cafeteria with hundreds of children eating and talking, especially when many don’t have air conditioning or proper ventilation? How can we stay six feet apart in a crowded hallway as periods change? It is anticipated that many staff will be absent for COVID related reasons, so how do we overcome our already unmanageable shortage of substitutes? 

These are merely a sampling of the myriad questions we all have, very few of which have a satisfactory answer. Simply put, it is not safe to reopen schools at this time. Opening too soon will result in tragedy on a massive scale.

The SCEA is taking action to prevent reopening schools before it is safe. We’re sending a letter to our elected leaders– signed by local presidents– and meeting with district, county, and state officials to let them know we will not stand for unsafe conditions. 

We need your voice to help save us all from the increased spread of death and disease. Here is how you can help.


  • Sign the Petition. Let Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Commissioner of Education Kevin Dehmer know that we demand school buildings remain closed until it is safe.
  •  Along with NJ 21 United, we’ll be at the intersection of Main St. and Division St. in Somerville (LOCATION CHANGE) on Thursday, July 30 at 3:00 P.M.  Register to join us.
  • Call and Email Legislators. Here is a helpful template developed by the Franklin Township EA that you can use to find your legislators’ contact information and send them a powerful message.

Most of our elected officials have never set foot in a kindergarten classroom. They’ve haven’t stood for hallway or lunch duty. They’ve never cleaned an art classroom or driven a bus full of students who need constant reminders to keep their seat belts buckled. Now they’re telling us to make sure everyone socially distances and wears masks in these environments. We’ve been there and we know better. Please take action to help keep our school communities safe.


Dan Epstein

President, Somerset County Education Association

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