Medford Township Schools could soon provide COVID vaccines to students who want them, said Superintendent Joseph Del Rossi at a May 10 board of education meeting.
After the Pfizer vaccine was approved for 12- to 15-year-olds on that date, Del Rossi said he is working with Rite Aid to hold clinics for students not unlike those the district provided for staff in March. The past clinics helped more than 500 staff and community members receive vaccinations, leading the district staff to a 96 percent vaccination rate.
The district logged 32 cases of COVID in April, with just one case among staff. Del Rossi hopes increasing vaccination rates will secure the district’s full reopening plan in the fall.
“I am pleased to report to the board that we’re moving in the right direction,” he remarked.
When asked about the district’s mask policy — they are currently required at all times except lunch — Del Rossi said he’d be willing to change that if the New Jersey Department of Health updates its guidelines.
“We’re looking for direction,” he noted. “No one wants that more than me.”
Also at the meeting, Cranberry Pines Elementary School Principal Kristin Groark presented the Medford History Project, a months-long effort by the school’s fifth graders to learn about local history. The project took students virtually to historic sites and created conversations with experts. It will be sent out to the community soon. Videos of what students learned, as well as an interactive map of the township, are compiled on a website.
“With a tiny bit of inspiration, a passion ignited,” Groark told the board. “In a year that is full of so much darkness, this is a beacon of light.”
Several fifth grade students told the board about a process that included learning about Dr. James Still, the Underground Railroad, Kirby’s Mill and other areas.
“I’ve lived in Medford for 11 years; I thought I knew everything about this,” said student Lauren King. “When I started this project, I realized I was wrong. It really changed our perspective of the world.”
The school board also recognized the district’s arts students, some of whom were accepted into All State Jazz Band and All South Jersey Honors Choir.
The Haines Sixth Grade Center was also approved for an outdoor environmental program at YMCA of the Pines in June.
The next board of education meeting will take place on June 28.