(TRENTON) – Taking action to prevent a shortage of school nurses in New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation to allow retired school nurses to return to work full time without being re-enrolled in the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) was approved Monday by the full Assembly, 74-0.
Under the measure, school nurses would be allowed to receive TPAF retirement allowance as well as a salary. They could return to work during the COVID-19 public health emergency under a one-year contract that could be renewed for one additional year, not to exceed a two-year period, unless approved by the New Jersey Commissioner of Education. Retired school nurses may return to work with a former employer over 60 days after their retirement.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
Sponsors of the measure, Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) and Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) released the following joint statement:
“School nurses are essential workers. Their work is demanding and sensitive, even in normal times. They provide health screenings and care for students with chronic illnesses, disabilities and mental health conditions, and serve as health advocates for all students.
“Other states have struggled to fill school nurse positions during the pandemic. We’ve been grateful not to have this problem in New Jersey, but we must do all we can to make sure our schools continue to be staffed with highly qualified nurses. Our children’s health must always come first.”