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Senate Budget Committee Releases Legislation to Assist Professionals in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

Trenton – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting in-person services in a variety of industries, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today released three bills, which would assist psychologists, and school districts throughout and after the public health emergency.

S-2506, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, would enter New Jersey into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact. The compact would allow a psychologist licensed in a member state who meets certain criteria to provide telepsychology services and limited in-person, face-to-face psychological services in other member states, without the need for individual licensure in those other states

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting in-person appointments, psychologists have been severely limited in the care they are able to provide to both existing and new patients,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “By entering the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact, work opportunities for psychologists will be greatly expanded, allowing them to give their services to patients in other states in need of it the most.”

S-3150, sponsored by Senators Nellie Pou and Richard Codey, would permit a school nurse who is retired from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) to return to work full-time as a certified school nurse without having to reenroll in the TPAF if employment commences during the public health emergency declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would permit them to work under a contract for up to two years without enrollment in the TPAF.

“Nearly 300 New Jersey public schools serving over 106,000 students had no assigned school nurse on staff, and another 13,000 students were in schools staffed by a nurse onsite less than full-time,” said Senator Pou (D-Passiac/Bergen). “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential role that school nurses have had in the reopening of schools, as screenings for the virus have been added to their already heavy workload. Allowing retired school nurses to return to work without being enrolled in the TPAF will be greatly beneficial in providing the necessary assistance to schools as they plan to return to fully in-person instruction in September.”

The bills were unanimously approved by the committee.