New Jersey governor ends vaccine-or-test mandate for school workers, state employees

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Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has removed regular COVID-19 testing requirements for a swath of public employees, including unvaccinated school employees, child care workers and state contractors.

Murphy signed an executive order Monday lifting the state’s mandate that all school districts and state contractors ensure their employees are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive regular testing. The order comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosened its guidance on reducing spread of the virus.

Murphy’s order takes effect immediately for schools and child care workers, but the effect is delayed to Sept. 1 for state contractors.

“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. “With children as young as 6 months old now eligible for vaccines and millions of New Jerseyans vaccinated and boosted, more of our residents are safe from severe illness due to COVID-19.”

WHITE HOUSE SAYS SCHOOL VACCINE MANDATE DECISION IS UP TO LOCAL DISTRICTS

Gov. Phil Murphy speaks to reporters during a briefing in Trenton, New Jersey, Feb. 7, 2022.

Gov. Phil Murphy speaks to reporters during a briefing in Trenton, New Jersey, Feb. 7, 2022.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

“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,” he added.

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The CDC no longer recommends six feet of social distancing nor quarantining for those who test positive for COVID but do not experience symptoms. It also removed recommendations to require testing for students and staff at schools.

While Murphy’s order removes the state-level requirement for a vaccine-or-test program, it does not prevent school districts or contractors from maintaining such programs of their own accord.

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State-covered health care workers will still be required to be vaccinated and have at least one booster dose, however.



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