New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: Monmouth County Program Gives School Openings a Shot in the Arm

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Calls for Fully In-Person Classroom Education by April 1

As an effective Monmouth County campaign to vaccinate teachers continues, Senator Declan O’Scanlon called for schools in the county to open for fully in-person instruction by April 1.

As more Monmouth County teachers are vaccinated, Sen. Declan O’Scanlon is calling for a return to full in-person school on April 1. (Pixabay)

“We’re proud of our role in this program that has vaccinated more than 2,100 educators in less than a month,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “Let’s be clear … overwhelming evidence indicates vaccinating teachers is not a scientific necessity to safely bring students back into the schools, but we know many of our instructors will feel more comfortable about returning to school once they have had the shots. It will help eliminate the staff shortages and extended quarantines that have prevented schools from returning to business as usual.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in-person instruction has not been the cause of community transmission. In fact, studies have shown that it is possible to reduce COVID-19 spread while also allowing schools to stay open for in-person instruction.

“It is time to stop trying this duct tape-approach to education and bring the students back into the schools where they belong,” said O’Scanlon. “Our state guidelines for school closure are completely outdated given the CDC’s multiple studies showing in-person instruction isn’t the cause of outbreaks. Most recently, Red Bank Regional has had – reluctantly – to move to remote learning all because of outdated information and guidelines regarding community transmission levels reflecting the school community.

“Teachers and administrators have worked hard and done their best to provide effective online and hybrid learning, but these professionals are trained to provide their most compelling instruction in the classrooms. Our children have been deprived of so much opportunity over the past year. It’s time to get the kids back behind their desks five days a week,” O’Scanlon continued.

A growing chorus of parents across the State have been calling for full-time classes to resume. On Saturday in Montclair, more than 100 parents held a statewide rally calling on Murphy to order schools to reopen five days a week for in-person education.

Citing the county’s successful effort to have teachers inoculated through the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACJ) and local health care systems, O’Scanlon is calling for the return to full in-school education for Monmouth County schools.

“After a couple more weeks of vaccinating school personnel at the current pace, schools should be ready to go. Let’s make Monmouth County yet another leader in getting back to normal and make this happen April 1.”

The Senator and his office helped coordinate the vaccination project to help teachers and staff register with VNACJ for injection appointments.

“The state’s vaccination effort got off to a slow, chaotic start.  Locally, we took the initiative and have – in partnership with the VNACJ Community Health Centers and local health care system – been able to institute a state-leading effort,” said O’Scanlon. “The success has been dramatic, and we’re not done yet!  With the cooperation of healthcare, schools, teachers and the county, school bells will be ringing soon.”

The Senator has also helped start a similar vaccination program for senior citizens in local municipalities.

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