The effort to get Jersey City kids back in school will get a boost today as the city will make its entire vaccine allotment for the week available to the 4,700 teachers and staff of Jersey City Public Schools.
Mayor Steve Fulop joined the Jersey City Board of Education and Jersey City Health and Human Services Department in an effort that they hope will allow the nearly 30,000 students in the city to return to full-time, in-person learning.
The school vaccination program is intended to allow for classrooms citywide to reopen in-person learning beginning April 22.
“We’ve been waiting for restrictions to be lifted so that we can inoculate teachers and meet the community’s call to get students back to in-person learning as quickly as possible,” Fulop said. “Now that we’ve reached that point, we’re prepared to dedicate the necessary resources to safely and swiftly reopen classrooms.
“Now that we are finally starting to get more doses, we can vaccinate more people, and we can expand our impact in order to help families and, ultimately. the broader community get back on their feet as fast as possible.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced late Friday that Newark will undergo a similar effort Tuesday.
Throughout the pandemic, the Fulop administration has worked closely with the board of education on COVID-19 testing, individual contact tracing and support for families, with access to city health officers and the COVID crisis manager.
City officials said they will continue to work with the BOE to register educators and school staff from the 42 schools within the district. Every employee within the Jersey City Public Schools will receive a form to fill out if they choose to get vaccinated, which will then be coordinated with the school district’s nurse.
Jersey City is also expanding the offer to include local charter schools and day care facilities. Two of the city’s vaccine sites, located in Ferris High School and PS 26, will be allocated to those who opt-in to the school vaccine program. Appointments are required to enter.
Franklin Walker, superintendent of schools, was appreciative of the mayor’s efforts.
“Mayor Fulop reinforced his commitment to the Jersey City Public Schools’ safe reopening with his plan to dedicate thousands of vaccines to the teachers and support staff,” he said. “The vaccinations will provide confidence, an additional level of support and safety for our entire school community.”