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Hunterdon Central Regional Board of Education President Vincent Panico. (Photo: Vincent Panico.)

Republican assembly candidate wants Murphy to prioritize vaccines for teachers

Vincent Panico warns continued remote schooling will cause further educational downturns

By Nikita Biryukov, February 15 2021 3:01 pm

A Republican candidate for Assembly in the 16th legislative district wants Gov. Phil Murphy to move teachers up on the vaccine priority list.

“Teachers across the state have risen to the challenges of hybrid and virtual learning to deliver quality education during the pandemic. It’s time for the State to do the same and rise to the challenge of supporting our educators and students,” Vincent Panico said. “Vaccinating our teachers is an important step in allowing our students to return to the classroom, closing achievement and opportunity gaps for NJ’s students.”

Panico, president of the Hunterdon Central Regional High School Board of Education, is running for seats held by Assemblymen Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) and Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough).

State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Branchburg) is not seeking re-election. Zwicker has already announced his intent to run for his seat in the upper chamber, and Freiman has declined to rule out such a bid.

Some Republicans in the state have shifted their criticisms of Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of the pandemic to its vaccination strategy, jabbing him over a decision to prioritize inoculations for inmates, who necessarily live in congregate settings, over other groups, teachers included.

Murphy has suggested educators would soon be entitled to vaccines but has so far declined to give a hard timeline, pointing to a national dearth of doses that has emerged as a major bottleneck in the state’s vaccine strategy.

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