Letter Read at BOE Meeting (8/16/21): Vaccination Mandate

The following letter submitted by SEPAC was read during the public speaks portion of the 8/16/21 Board of Education meeting.

Good evening Dr. Taylor, Administrators and BOE Members,

The Executive Board of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (or SEPAC) here in our district is advocating for you to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all school personnel. We wrote to you last week about this issue and understand you support it but believe you do not have the autonomy to make the decision. Since then, we found out that another school district in New Jersey – Bernards Township School District – has done exactly that: mandated their school staff be vaccinated for COVID-19 by September 1.

We recognize you believe in the importance of vaccines by your partnership with Essex County to have a mobile vaccination unit at CHS tomorrow (Tuesday) and by publicizing it to families and employees. It is not enough though.

In our previous letter, we laid out a list of scenarios, including preschool program classrooms, self-contained classrooms and OT and PT sessions, that would be considered “HIGH RISK CONGREGATE SETTINGS”. Governor Murphy has mandated the COVID vaccine for staff in those settings and we believe it should stand for our schools as well. He has not made the decision for schools yet, but you can. 

We advocate for this vaccine mandate for the safety of our students and our staff. We also advocate for it for the consistency of learning and services. When more people are sick for longer stretches of time, there are more disruptions, and more disruptions mean students are once again being sent home to learn virtually. We would like for you to utilize ALL mitigating strategies at your disposal to help prevent that from happening.

Finally, we support weekly COVID-19 testing for those individuals who have sound reasons for not being vaccinated.

Thank you. 

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