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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Letters to the Editor: Exposed to COVID-19

To the Editor:

This is a copy of the letter I sent to the Hammonton School Board, Board President Sam Mento III, Board Vice President Michael Pullia and Superintendent Robin Chieco:

I am writing to you today because of an issue that has come to my attention that I feel needs to be immediately addressed. Although I do not have a child in this school district any longer, my 4-year-old autistic granddaughter who lives within my home does attend your school. This summer, after being homeschooled since March, my granddaughter went to your Special Needs Summer program. My daughter, her mother, is a bus aide for the Hammonton School District and has been working throughout the summer.

On Sunday evening, my daughter messaged the head of the bus garage department and let her know she was feeling ill and would not be in the next day. At that point, she told me she was told that the bus driver on her bus tested positive for COVID-19. Now, my daughter and all of the adults in our household have been fully vaccinated; but, right now, with the new strains of the COVID-19 virus, there’s still a chance that we could get the Delta variant of COVID-19, or pass it to others. (Update, now I have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as my daughter that works at your school.) My question is, why, why, would you not inform the people who work with each other on a daily basis? Why would you allow others to become infected, and allow those others infect more people? Why was my daughter not immediately informed of the bus driver’s COVID-19 status? Now, my daughter’s 4-year-old unvaccinated special needs child, her autistic sibling, her father and her medically-compromised mother have all been exposed. This is after doing everything the right way for more than a full year, being responsible to stay safe.

I need to understand exactly why employees are not being told they have been exposed to COVID-19 in a timely manner. My daughter will now not be able to finish out the last week of summer school. My husband, who works in different people’s homes every day will have to take at least a 10-day COVID-19 leave from his job. He is the only other adult in the household that is able to work, and now he is forced to take time off which will create a financial hardship for our whole family.

I’m writing this now because this is actually the second time my daughter was exposed at work and was not told. The last time she found out was days later when others in her department told her. I want to know why and how something like this continues to happen in this school district? Why aren’t your employees given all of the information immediately so they can keep others around them safe? Doesn’t this school board have a responsibility to keep employees informed? What about the special needs students on that bus? They don’t wear masks, because they aren’t made to wear them. Have the parents of those children been notified? Especially since the COVID-19 Delta variant can be passed from vaccinated individuals to the unvaccinated? Some of those students are too young or too compromised to get vaccinated.

I need answers to these questions. Your employees need and deserve answers to these questions. Of course, the parents of the students also deserve answers to these questions. Transparency needs to happen here. This cannot be hidden or swept under the rug, especially not now. I would appreciate answers, and very soon. I am sure I am not the only one.

Thank you, and I look forward to your prompt reply.

Judy Friedley



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