By the time you read this, the number of people who have been lost due to the global coronavirus pandemic will have increased dramatically. Here in New Jersey, and around the world, this virus is devastating families and communities. Even doing everything that government officials and public health experts recommend cannot prevent human loss and suffering. It can only attempt to limit it.

We have already seen too many precious lives lost, and we take this moment to recognize them, think of them, and honor them. Perhaps more than ever, we really see how connected we are, and we grieve with all those who have lost loved ones.

Each day that we are given, we are responsible for making the best of our circumstances, and I have seen so many stories of NJEA members going above and beyond to care for each other.

NJEA members are volunteering at COVID-19 testing sites. They are stepping up to ensure that students and their families do not go hungry. They are consoling parents and students who are afraid. They are encouraging their colleagues who are struggling with new work demands, even as they deal with new challenges confronting their own families. They are making funny videos, reading storybooks online, hosting yoga classes and dance parties, and posting pictures of their pets to encourage their students and help them manage their anxiety.

I have always been proud to be an NJEA member and to have been elected president of this association, but seeing the outpouring of support, compassion, and excellence that you have displayed during these last few months, I can honestly say that I have never been prouder to be so connected to all of you.

Thank you for being a shining light in a terrible time.

Marie Blistan

Officers online

Marie Blistan
Facebook

@Marie.Blistan: Our NJEA school nurses are AGAIN selflessly dedicated to helping our community and state during this medical crisis. THANK YOU, Morris County, Rockaway Township EA presidents Brian Adams & Tara Van Orden, Bus Drivers Association President Tina Richardson, RTEA members, and a special call out to RTEA school nurses for your work! Our students are also volunteering at these sites, and we commend you and express our sincere gratitude for all that you are doing! YOU are OUR NJEA HEROES and we all thank you!!

NJEA President Marie Blistan posted a story from the NJEA website about members Karen Jordano and Regina Adamson, school nurses at Copeland Middle School in Rockaway Township. They, like many school nurses across the state, volunteered to work at a COVID-19 screening station.

Sean M. Spiller
Facebook

@SpillerForNJEA: Of course, members should reach out for help with anything, but let’s also be specifically mindful of everyone’s mental health during this stressful time. Keep physical space, but stay connected emotionally and socially (virtually) as much as possible. For those who need a little more assistance call: AID-NJEA (1-866-243-6532).

NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller encouraged members to remember to take care of themselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. AID-NJEA is a free, confidential 24-hour telephone helpline for school staff members and their families. The helpline is staffed by active and retired educators and school counselors who are trained to counsel and support their colleagues. Mental health professionals are also available at AID-NJEA, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Steve Beatty
Facebook

@SteveBeattyNJEA: Watched four episodes of NJTV Learning Live yesterday, and I am just blown away (again) by the ingenuity, empathy, and general awesomeness of our fellow NJ educators!! Thanks to all that took the time, and their families who participated—filming, flipping, rapping—to keep our students engaged. And thanks to the New Jersey Department of Education & Kimberly Dickstein Hughes, our NJ Teacher of the Year, for their efforts in making this work.

NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty shared a link to special programing on NJTV featuring lessons from New Jersey public school teachers for grades 3 to 6 and airing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every weekday during the closure of school buildings statewide. All lessons are archived at njtvonline.org/programs/njtv-learning-live, which also livestreams the lessons. NJEA and the NJDOE partnered with NJTV to make the program possible.

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