Cranbury School District pushes for teachers to receive COVID-19 vaccine access

The Cranbury School during a rainy evening in Cranbury on Feb. 10.

The Cranbury School District has been calling for teachers to receive the highest priority access to New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out since late January.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Susan Genco joined other district superintendents and administrators within Middlesex County on a letter sent to Gov. Phil Murphy urging that teachers receive that access to vaccinations. The letter followed a previous letter that had been sent by the Cranbury School District to Murphy.

“The Cranbury Township Board of Education and I wholeheartedly agree that educators should have priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Genco said. “On Jan. 29, I sent a letter to Gov. Murphy on behalf of the Cranbury Township Board of Education, urging that the vaccine eligibility is prioritized for educators. Additionally, I co-authored a letter with the Middlesex County Superintendents Association in support of the same.”

Neighboring counties of Mercer and Somerset have also issued letters to the governor from superintendents and associations.

Currently, teachers eligible for COVID-19 vaccines are only in the categories of individuals at high risk or who have certain medical conditions.

As of Feb. 23, Murphy had not yet announced a specific date or additional anticipated timeframe for teachers.

When teachers do become eligible, the Board of Education and Cranbury District administration hope Murphy considers the recommendation that the state implement on site vaccinations for teachers.

“Additional vaccines that do not require cold chain storage are expected to become available in the very near future. These vaccine supplies should be earmarked and distributed via mobile vaccination units for teachers,” Genco said.  “Providing onsite vaccinations to teachers and staff will eliminate the need for educators to travel around the state for a vaccine appointment, while reducing the loss of instructional time for students.”

Vaccinations continue to be available only for paid and unpaid persons who are healthcare personnel (Phase 1A), long-term care residents and staff (Phase 1A), first responders (Phase 1B), and individuals at high risk (Phase 1B), such as residents 65 and older and individuals ages 16-64 who have certain medical conditions.

“Progress is being made in the battle against COVID-19 in both New Jersey and nationally. Since the beginning of this health crisis, the situation continues to remain fluid,” Genco added. “Many factors need to be taken into account prior to reaching any decisions regarding health and safety.”

The school district will move to implement options currently under consideration for increased in-person learning time for all students only if a path of steady progress continues in the weeks ahead.

“As we have done throughout the year, we will continue to monitor the status at the state, county and local levels to make necessary adjustments accordingly,” Genco said. “A parent communication will be sent later this week with further information.”