BERKELEY – As regulations continue to change on how to counter the coronavirus pandemic, some school districts are arguing that the restrictions shouldn’t get any tighter.
Currently, all workers in schools have to be fully vaccinated or else be tested at least once a week. This has been in effect since October 18.
Local officials want to make sure that their employees will still be allowed to be tested rather than required to be vaccinated.
Central Regional Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides sent a letter to the governor on behalf of the Board of Education “our many stakeholders, and most importantly the students and parents of the Central Regional School District.”
If restrictions get tighter, “such a mandate will force teachers, support staff, and administrators that choose not to vaccinate for religious, medical or personal reasons, to be forced to resign their positions. Currently, we have over 120 teachers, support staff, and administration that are not vaccinated but are being tested on a weekly basis,” he wrote.
If the district had to suddenly replace that many staff it would be disastrous for the district, and the people who would suffer the most are the children, he said.
“After all that our students and parents had to endure last school year due to shutdowns and closures, and the struggles and learning losses due to the failures of virtual learning, such a mandate will even further hurt our students academically, mentally, and socially,” he said.
The officials don’t want New Jersey to follow in the footsteps of California.
In California, the COVID-19 vaccine was added to a list of vaccinations required for school. The state would require the vaccinations after they are approved for the given age range.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said that his strict vaccine and mask policies is what has made his state start to recover quicker from COVID-19. It has allowed more children to be in schools and businesses to be impacted less.
“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom said when making the announcement in October. “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”