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Gov. Murphy Announces COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expanding To Teachers, More Essential Workers

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) -- The list of people eligible for the COVID vaccine is growing in New Jersey.

Educators are next in line in an effort to get kids back into the classroom, CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported Monday.

Starting March 15, Pre-K to 12th grade educators and support staff will be eligible.

For almost a year, schools throughout the state looked empty, with hundreds of thousands of students learning remotely because of the pandemic.

It hasn't been easy.

"It's really hard to reach through the computer and just be there for the kids," said Paul Germadnig, a 7th grade teacher in Jersey City.


Germadnig is eager to get back into the classroom.

"It's just a lot easier to work with the kids. It's a lot easier to sit with them and actually show them how to do something," he said.

Statewide, there are 142 schools districts that are entirely remote. While not everyone will return at the same time, it's Gov. Phil Murphy's hope that things will be different by fall.

"We would fully expect, assuming things go the direction they're going, that we will be in person for school in September," Murphy said.

WATCH: Gov. Murphy Announces Vaccine Eligibility Expanding --

That's welcome news for Michael Long, an educator at the Beloved Community Charter School.

"We've always known that there would be that light at the end of the tunnel. It's just a matter of, 'How long is this tunnel?' Because it's been about a year now," Long said.

That sense of hope can soon be felt by other groups, too.

On March 15, the eligibility list will also include childcare workers and transit employees.

Starting March 29, people working in food production and distribution can get their shots, along with eldercare employees, hotel workers and people working in logistics.

New Jersey, like many other states, is in need of more supplies .

CBS2's Kevin Rincon contributed to this report .

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