Hoboken Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson has introduced a COVID-19 vaccination/testing mandate for all teachers and staff, as well as eligible students ages 12 and over.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Staff members and students who are 12 years old and over (via parent or guardian) will be asked to submit proof of vaccination,” she wrote in a comprehensive plan released yesterday.
“If for any reason COVID vaccination is not possible, chosen or has not yet been received, weekly testing will be required and provided onsite beginning on Friday, September 17, 2021.”
She continued that on-site PCR coronavirus testing will be mandatory on Fridays for anyone who does not submit proof of vaccination, by randomly selected students who are too young to be vaccinated to get tested – with the number determined by the state’s rate of positivity each week.
In that scenarios, parents or guardians will be notified on Wednesday so that they can plan accordingly, such as by getting a test off site if they prefer.
While the Hoboken Public Schools will mostly use nasal swab tests, they have some saliva tests on hand for students “with sensory or sensitivity challenges.”
Additionally, no family will be billed for these tests, regardless if they have insurance of not, according to the district’s reopening plan.
“If for any reason, an unvaccinated staff member, age eligible student, or student under the age of 12 years old who is randomly selected for COVID PCR testing on any given Friday, is not in work or school, he/she/they will be required to test independently and provide a negative PCR test result upon entering school or work on Monday morning,” Johnson explains.
“Prior to the opening of school and after all school breaks of two days or longer, the Hoboken Public School District will require COVID-19 testing for all unvaccinated students and staff members. Families and staff members may take advantage of our onsite testing on the specified days publicized, or may secure a COVID PCR test no more than 48 hours prior to returning to school or work.”
Furthermore, any faculty member or student will require to be tested after traveling out of state anywhere beyond the northeast region.
The Hoboken Public Schools are set to reopen Tuesday, September 8th.
Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a statewide vaccine/testing mandate for teachers, with all educators expected to be vaccinated by October 18th or be tested once or twice a week.
Expectedly, Mayor Ravi Bhalla vocalized his support for the plan in a statement this afternoon.
“I applaud Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson and her team for instituting a vaccine or testing requirement for all faculty and students 12 years of age and up this school year,” he said.
“This robust plan to continue to provide safe, in-person educational instruction will ensure that students and families feel protected in the classroom and will limit the spread of COVID-19 among our children. I strongly encourage all other institutions and businesses in Hoboken to adopt similar policies.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from Mayor Ravi Bhalla.