Cherry Hill parents, students demand their school reopen for in-person learning

Friday, September 18, 2020
Cherry Hill parents, students demand their school reopen for in-person learning
Parents rallied in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Tuesday night demanding schools be reopened for in-person learning.

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey students have been on a virtual learning plan in the Cherry Hill School District for a week, but already some parents and their children say it's not working.

"Time to open our schools, no excuses!" chanted parents and students on Tuesday night, rallying outside the Malberg School Administration building demanding schools be reopened for in-person learning.

"Just on September 11, the district said the buildings are fine and so really, what are we waiting for? Why aren't we going back to school?" asked parent Rick Short.

The school district announced last month that due to concerns from teachers and staff about the coronavirus, they decided to do only full remote learning until November 4.

"We can go to the grocery store, we can go to the beach, we can go to a restaurant and we can do it safely. So why can't they go to school and do it safely?" asked parent Jaimee Haas.

Some parents say their students learning from home has been extremely challenging.

"They're not learning much. I feel like we're the only district in the area that is not having any in-person learning," said Susan Dermer.

Mila Beaver who immigrated here from Colombia says she had to take a leave of absence from her job to take care of her kids.

"I came to Cherry Hill looking for the American dream. And definitely, this is becoming very, very difficult. I cannot afford to have a private tutor for my two kids," said Beaver.

"Our kids are not getting the support that they need. This home learning, this system is not designed for elementary school kids," said parent John Beaver.

Ideally, the group says they'd like to see schools be reopened as soon as possible.

The school district issued a statement saying they are now focused on training and support.

Our buildings were ready to open on the first day of school, September 8, 2020, and they are ready to open at any time. Our focus now is to make sure our staff have the training and support they need and to make sure we have adequate staffing -- including substitutes as necessary -- to move to the hybrid learning model. We plan to start the hybrid model on November 9, 2020. We will continue to evaluate the many circumstances that could affect that date. If that date changes to an earlier or later one, we will inform our families.