After pressure, NJ to end COVID-19 mandate for schools, state workers
Gov. Phil Murphy will immediately lift the state's COVID-19 testing mandate for schools and many state employees.
Following calls from state Sens. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, and Kristin Corrado, ,R-Passaic, to lift the mandate, the governor issued an executive order Monday ending the testing requirements for unvaccinated school, child care, state workers and state contractor employees, according to a report by NJ.com.
The mandates will end immediately for schools and child care facilities and the state worker testing mandate ends Sept. 1, according to the NJ.com report.
The mandate requiring the shot and one booster will remain in place for health care facilities in line with federal policy. The vaccine will continue to be mandated for workers in correctional facilities, nursing homes and other congregant settings.
“Today’s executive order follows guidance from public health officials at the CDC regarding responsible steps states can take as we continue to adjust to the endemic reality of COVID-19,” Murphy said in a statement.
School districts and child care centers can require a vaccination and testing policy as they see fit.
Updated CDC recommendations
The CDC updated its recommendations Thursday that testing healthy students and employees is no longer necessary. Testing should only be required for “high-risk activities” during high COVID-19 Community Level, or in response to an outbreak.
Murphy continued to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccination and booster which can be administered to children as young as 6 months old.
"As always, I encourage everyone to stay up-to-date on their vaccination and take other precautions as necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones from this virus," Murphy said.
Gopal was happy with the removal mandate and echoed his sentiment about stil being aware of one's health.
"Happy we can move past this. Obviously if you're not feeling well or feeling sick be smart about it. That's the tactic as we return to full normalcy," Gopal told New Jersey 101.5.
Corrado tweeted her approval of Murphy's decision.
"We've been calling for Gov. Murphy to lift his unnecessary testing mandate for months. Glad he's finally listening. Better late than never," Corrado said.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 2nd District, said it was a partial victory after sending Murphy numerous requests to drop the mandates but wants them all to be eliminated.
"There has been enough ostracizing of individuals who have chosen to maintain their right to personal autonomy and these people deserve to earn a living without the state of New Jersey mandating they go through the process of being tested each and every week," Van Drew said in a statement. "The government should be incentivizing people to return to work, not imposing barriers that works against American small businesses and their employees' livelihoods."
NJ.com was first to report on the executive order.
Previous reporting by Erin Vogt was used in this report
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.