Is it time for Gov. Phil Murphy to end weekly COVID-19 testing for school employees who are not vaccinated?
State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40) is an emphatic “yes.” The North Jersey lawmaker believes it is well past time the executive order put forth by the governor was ended, saying the tests were no longer necessary.
“Our society has changed because of COVID. We may have to live with the virus, but we no longer have to fear it,” Corrado stated.
Teachers Leaving the Profession
Corrado argued New Jersey school districts were currently contending with an alarming number of teachers leaving the profession. This has left school administrators scrambling to fill positions.
“It is time to eliminate the requirements and allow teachers and administrators to concentrate on helping students make up for COVID-related learning losses and helping them settle in with new teachers, new classrooms and classmates, and new academic challenges,” the Senator wrote.
Drop in Enrollment
This was backed up by New Jersey Policy Perspective, which reported the number of teachers in New Jersey had declined since the 2007-2008 school year. There were almost five people who completed teacher preparation for every 1,000 students in New Jersey in the 2007-2008 school year.
Today, there are barely two per 1,000 students.
The State Senator is sponsoring legislation (S-2250) that would remove the requirement for weekly testing, stating “this is one obstacle that can be easily removed.”
That said, it remains unclear whether the measure would make an appreciable difference of the current teacher shortage. As of November 2021, 84.9% of Garden State teachers at 2,081 K-12 school districts were fully vaccinated.
A National Issue
Sen. Bob Menendez Sen. Cory Booker have taken aim at the issue at the national level with the Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act.
The act would give teachers between $1,000 and $15,000 via refundable tax credits, depending on the school district they work for.
The Senators noted teachers at the elementary and secondary level earn about 20% less than similarly-educated professionals.
Schools never needed to be closed. Masks don’t stop Covid and children never needed to wear them. The vaccine doesn’t stop infection spread and transmission. There is no justification to mandate this vaccine for anyone. There is and has never been any reason to test healthy asymptomatic people at all. The whole government response to Covid has been a complete failure from the beginning. Though government health agencies at the federal and local level are complete failures. The people in charge of them should be arrested and tried for fraud and incompetence.
Teachers aren’t leaving the profession because of COVID testing. Teachers are leaving the profession because we are not paid for the hours we put in, not respected by parents and administration, and not listened to by legislators before they pass regulations that affect us. Eliminating the COVID testing requirement will do nothing to help districts hire qualified teachers (although it might help districts hire people with no understanding of science). We need teacher preparation programs to be debt-free, teacher salaries to be competitive, politicians to stop lumping teachers in with police in their arguments about public pensions, and for Trenton to stop using public pensions as a piggy bank they can raid at will.
Vaccines are not designed only to protect the individual receiving the vaccination. As they primarily prevent severe disease, rather than preventing all infections, they are a public health measure designed to prevent our hospitals from becoming overloaded with very sick patients, who use precious resources needed to care for non-COVID patients. When the time comes that you need a serious operation, or have an accident or heart attack requiring ICU care, you may live to regret pushing to end vaccine mandates.