TRENTON — A proposed law would require that school districts inform communities about outbreaks in schools.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, said her two bills — one aimed at K-12 districts, the other at colleges — were inspired by the calls her office received from teachers concerned about their health and the ways in which their schools were handling the COVID-19 crisis.

Teachers never expected to be on the front lines of a public health crisis, so it's important to keep them safe and informed, she said.

The bills require notification to school communities about COVID-19 infections. The proposed laws also would exclude members of a school community infected with COVID-19 from in-person activities. The state Department of Education would then be required to develop a data dashboard on COVID-19 in schools.

Under the bill, the schools would have to keep a detailed log of any visitors in the school for contact-tracing purposes.

She said she has received positive feedback from the NJEA, the Bergen County Education Association, parents, students and teachers. They want to ensure that staff and students are kept informed of potential exposures.

Huttle also said she's also fighting to have New Jersey teachers part of the group to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible because teachers are on the front lines facing a public health crisis.

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