EDISON – School and township officials have plans at the ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
“At this point my job is to provide the resources,” said Andy Toth, deputy fire chief and office of emergency management coordinator. “We have refrigerators and freezers for the vaccine. We have plans in place all ready to go … we are just missing the vaccine.”
Toth joined Schools Superintendent Bernard Bragen, Township Councilman Joseph Coyle, and members of the Board of Education including Board President Jerry Shi, Board Vice President Mohin Patel, Board member Virginia White and Board member Biral Patel at a press conference to plea for equal distribution of the vaccine on Feb. 23.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 11 and the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 18.
Currently, the vaccine is open to healthcare personnel, long-term care residents and staff, first responders and individuals at high risk in category 1A. Teachers are part of category 1B, which also include anyone over 65 and people between 16 and 64 with specific medical issues.
As the Edison Public School District gears up to transition back to its in-person hybrid instructional model on March 1, school officials heard raw emotions from parents of struggling students with remote learning and teachers afraid to go back to school until a vaccine is widely distributed at a board meeting on Feb. 23.
The district transitioned to fully remote learning on Dec. 7 due to rising cases of the coronavirus. Hybrid in-person learning began on Oct. 19.
Bragen said the school district is following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines aligned with New Jersey Department of Health guidelines and have practices in place – social distancing, mask requirements, thermal scans in the buildings and cleaning procedures.
He said with everything in place he believes schools are safe for students and staff to return. He added having the vaccine would add another layer of protection.
Also at the meeting two high school students – one from John P. Stevens High School and one from Edison High School – addressed concerns of excessive screen time that has caused mental fatigue and overwhelming pressure from a tremendous workload.
Bragen said he heard the concerns and would address their concerns with his administration.