One district in North Jersey has mandated students eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine receive the shot in order to attend school this year.
Hoboken is believed to be the only school district in New Jersey with the vaccine mandate. Students 12 and older who haven’t been vaccinated will be tested for COVID-19 on site, the district policy says. The district will bill each family’s health insurance provider for the tests and will cover the cost for uninsured families with federal coronavirus relief funds.
Students not fully vaccinated will undergo weekly tests for COVID onsite every Friday, starting Sept. 17. Additionally, the district will randomly select a percentage of students who are not yet age eligible for vaccinations for weekly COVID testing each week starting on the same date.
While Hoboken is the first local school district to institute a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, universities and colleges in New Jersey have made it a requirement. Those schools include the state university Rutgers as well as Rowan and Kean Colleges among others.
“It was really more to ensure that we were testing our older kids who needed to be tested on a more regular basis because of things like athletics and after-school activities where they are very close,” Superintendent Christine Johnson told NJ.com. Surrounding school districts such as Jersey City and Bayonne said they would not follow Hoboken’s lead until the state required it.
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The Hudson County city mandate goes farther than the rule Murphy Administration established in attempting to curtail the spread of the coronavirus in schools this academic year. The state has ordered by Oct. 18, teachers, administrators and staffers, whether full or part time, face the choice of being fully mandated or face testing of up to twice a week. The order applies to all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools.
Additionally, the governor ordered a mask mandate for students, educators, staff, and visitors for the 2021-2022 school year. The rule will apply to the indoor premises of all public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings, with limited exceptions.
Murphy said this week that health and educational members of his administration “are comfortable as I sit here” with the program of vaccination mandate, multiple testings per week, and masking that is currently in place.
But he did leave the door open for the vaccine mandate to expand to all students.
“As we’ve said so many times, all considerations are on the table,” said Murphy.
The first COVID-19 vaccine mandate or weekly testing ordered by the Murphy Administration goes into effect Sept. 7 for healthcare workers. The state set an Oct. 18 date for all state employees along teachers to the fully vaccinated or face weekly testing. Wayne and Newark are requiring their employees to get vaccinated as terms of their employment as well.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 11,180,881 in-state, plus an additional 407,756 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 11,588,637 as of Sept. 3. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,444,760 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 176,279 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,621,039, passing an 80% threshold.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,254,949 doses (613,512 fully vaccinated), Essex 964,030 doses (462,347), Hudson 875,169 doses (419,685), Morris 683,236 doses (333,010), Passaic 598,778 doses (288,515), Sussex 160,295 doses (79,292), and Warren 104,214 doses (51,045).
As of Sept. 3, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 957,199 with 1,671 total new PCR cases reported. There were 329 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 141,327. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,098,526.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 11 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,198. The state listed probable deaths at 2,731, bringing the overall total to 26,929. State officials noted 16 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Sept. 3, Bergen had a total of 137 new confirmed cases and 19 new probable cases, Essex 167 new cases and 12 new probable case, Hudson 60 new cases and two new probable cases, Morris 76 new confirmed cases and 16 new probable cases, Passaic 67 new cases and six new probable case, Sussex 29 new cases and four new probable cases, and Warren 16 new cases and three new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,774, followed by Bergen at 2,618, Hudson with 2,126, Passaic at 1,761, Morris at 995, Sussex at 245, and Warren County at 217.
In regards to probable deaths reported Aug. 30, Essex has 306, Bergen has 304, Morris has 260, Hudson has 222, Passaic has 203, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,175,016 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Aug. 15, 12,242 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 307 COVID-related hospitalizations and 68 COVID-related deaths.
In the last week, breakthroughs accounted for 12.5% of all new cases (1,637 of 13,118), 3.8% of new hospilizations (31 of 807), and none of the 36 deaths—the fourth week in a row of no deaths from those fully vaccinated.
As for the rate of transmission reported Sept. 3, it declined to 1.06 from 1.07 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested Aug. 29 was 7.3%; by region, the rate was 6.0% in the North, 7.9% in the Central region and 9.7% in the South.
The state reported 1,054 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 382 in the North, 314 in the Central and 358 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 218 are in intensive care units and 109 on ventilators. A total of 147 patients were discharged.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, intensive care units, ventilators and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 143 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 951 of the cases, broken down between 515 residents and 436 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,652 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 33,342 residents and 22,694 staff, for a total of 56,306.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,473 on Sept. 3. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,913 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.