In a message sent March 5, Superintendent Thomas Gialanella informed all Toms River Regional Schools staff members that the district was working to have them vaccinated, and soon.
“I am very excited to share the news that, through our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health, we will begin facilitating vaccinations for our staff members through a phased-in approach beginning March 22,” Gialanella wrote in a letter that included a link to a vaccine questionnaire staff members were asked to complete.
Since then, nearly 600 staff members have registered through the form to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Community Medical Center the week of March 22-26.
As part of its phased-in approach, priority is being given to TRRS staff members who are 55 years of age or older, and/or who have pre-existing medical conditions. It’s expected, however, that all staff members who have completed the form will be able to receive their first doses that week.
This effort coincides with the announcement from the governor’s office earlier this month that vaccinations will be open effective March 15 for those in group 1b, which includes teachers. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new website with the latest information about how K-12 educators and school staff and childcare workers can get vaccinated, and issued a fact sheet and toolkit to help school and childcare program leaders communicate about COVID-19 vaccination.
“This national push to have teachers vaccinated certainly helps our efforts, and it’s times like this when having a strong community partner like Community Medical Center makes all the difference,” said Gialanella. “To be able to offer our dedicated staff members-- who’ve gone above and beyond this past year to continue educating our students under such challenging circumstances-- a streamlined way to receive vaccinations makes us extremely proud, happy, and grateful.”
The district completed the latest phase of its #TRSafeReturn March 15 when secondary schools transitioned to four half-days per week of in-person instruction. As TRRS continues to make every available effort to keep its schools safe, sanitized, and secure, the collaborative effort to vaccinate staff members is an exciting and extremely important giant step forward.