NJ private schools scramble to fulfill staff vaccine mandate

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Leaders at New Jersey’s private schools were scrambling to figure out how they would fulfill a new term announced by Gov. Phil Murphy that requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID.

The ordinance applies to all public, private and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and Renaissance schools.

This includes anyone employed by a school full or part time – administrators, educators and pedagogical support professionals, persons providing food, child care or administrative support services, substitute teachers, contract employees and other employees of the school. school. The deadline for getting vaccinated is October 18. Those who do not get the vaccine will be tested once or twice a week, at a minimum, the governor said.

Principals from Don Bosco Prep, a Catholic boys-only high school in Ramsey with around 900 students, were in a meeting all afternoon Monday after the work on the logistics of the order was announced.

“We followed all the protocols that the governor mandated,” said the director, Fr. Abraham Feliciano. “Whatever is required for the safety of our young people, we will do it. “

Feliciano said Don Bosco was open most of the last school year, despite the pandemic.

“Our school has been very diligent about COVID protocols and has gone above and beyond,” he said. “A tremendous amount of energy is devoted to ensuring that students can have as normal an experience as possible. “

At Delbarton, a boys-only school in grades 7 to 12 in Morristown, principal Fr. Michael Tidd said principals were still digesting the mandate.

“Right now, we are studying Governor Murphy’s statement to see what it means for us,” he said. “But we will fully comply as we have with all previous COVID requirements. “

Some private schools that NJ Advance Media contacted this week said many of their staff were already vaccinated so the tenure would not be a burden.

A spokesperson for The Pennington School, a private day school and boarding school for sixth to 12th grade students in Pennington, said “our faculty was already almost 100% vaccinated before this term.”

Deputy principal Ashraf Eisa of Alghazaly School, an Islamic institution in Jersey City, said he was not concerned about the tenure because all of his teachers were already vaccinated. They didn’t have to be in school, teachers took it upon themselves to get the vaccine, he said.

The Archdiocese of Newark, which oversees 73 schools in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties, said it plans to share more information in the coming weeks on the state’s mask mandates and vaccines.

“With the start of the 2021-2022 school year fast approaching, our school administrators are working diligently to finalize the plans as we once again offer full-time in-person learning for our Catholic elementary and secondary students. “Said Maria Margiotta, spokesperson. for the diocese. “We were grateful to be able to offer this same level of Catholic education over the past school year and we recognize the importance of in-person teaching. “

There are 1,362 private schools serving 209,881 students in New Jersey, according to Private School Review. About 44% are affiliated with a religion. The largest concentrations of private schools in the state are found in Lakewood (71), Jersey City (30), Edison (23), Trenton (23), Newark (22) and Princeton (22).

NJ Advance Media contacted at least 10 private schools in Lakewood. Administrators declined to comment, did not resend messages, or were unavailable.

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Allison Pries can be reached at [email protected].


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