Happy-yet-Hesitant Parents Send Students Back to School


Sivaragha Buddana '22

Illustrated by: Sivaragha Buddana ’22

SAHANA ALI ‘23 and AVA YAP ‘23

Overcrowding in Edison schools has been a looming problem throughout the past decade and the district has yet to take action. In 2020, Edison parents created a $183.2 million school referendum that addressed overcrowding in the district’s public schools. However, the referendum did not pass in a 4,643 to 2,855 vote. Now during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents reluctantly send their children to Edison Public Schools well aware of the logistics of following all CDC guidelines. These logistics are especially concerning as Edison High School is overcrowded, especially with the influx of more than 650 freshmen who now roam the halls.

“During passing, I walk shoulder to shoulder with kids who don’t wear their masks properly,” said Emily Fodor ‘23.

“Passing” is the five-minute interval for students to walk from one class to another. In the duration of those five minutes, Fodor estimated around 1 out of 4 of students takes off their mask or tampers with it to reveal their nose or full face. Students relay these observations of school safety home, and parents are concerned about whether or not sending their children to school is safe.

Parents reluctantly send their children to Edison Public Schools well aware of the logistics of following all CDC guidelines.

Mother of two and secretary of Saint Matthew School, Toniann Ambrosio ‘90 understands that schools are working with what they can in order to provide children with the education they deserve. She believes in-person learning is the best way for a child to learn.

“It is vital for them to be in a classroom where they have the access to resources that they need. Testing can be done in front of a teacher… so she/he is able to monitor the testing closely for when the student does well or needs improvement,” said Ambrosio.

Ambrosio’s opinion lines up with the views of the CDC who released a statement saying in-person learning benefits children more than remote. However, transmission rates for COVID-19 are increasing along with pending vaccination approvals. Najima Naidoo, mother of two as well, has been surprised by the number of positive cases in the Edison school district.

“It seems like every week I’m getting a new email about a Covid-positive student at the school [Edison High School],” Naidoo states.

At the time of this writing, there have been 126 reported COVID-19 positive cases in schools, according to the state Department of Health.

The CDC and health experts everywhere continue to advocate for the effectiveness and safeness for the COVID-19 antibody vaccine. Many parents are getting their children vaccinated to prevent them from contracting COVID-19 and or developing life threatening symptoms, as a result.

“If Governor Murphy mandated all students twelve and over to be vaccinated… it would definitely give me as a parent peace of mind,” Ambrosio said.