New Jersey’s Leaders Failed Miserably By Not Reopening Schools Earlier During Covid, Report Finds

A 900+ page state report released Monday reveals that New Jersey is not adequately prepared for the next pandemic-level crisis, despite lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, conducted by independent auditors, highlights failures in healthcare infrastructure and medical supply scarcity, resulting in a delayed response to the pandemic.

The report notes that students should have returned to the classroom sooner, citing strong teachers’ unions as a factor in delayed reopenings. Additionally, the report highlights the state’s vaccination program as a success, with a significant decrease in vaccine hesitancy.

However, the pandemic had a devastating impact on the state’s economy, with worse GDP and employment losses than elsewhere in the US. Low-income workers were disproportionately affected, and many businesses were forced to close.

The report also criticizes the state’s handling of nursing homes, with thousands of residents dying in isolation and likely underreported deaths at state veterans homes due to inconsistent reporting protocols.

Despite these failures, the report aims to serve as a “playbook” for New Jersey, providing a guide for putting in place appropriate resources, plans, and processes to better prepare for future crises.

“Let us learn from this horrific experience today so we can avoid another one tomorrow,” the report concludes.

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