Gov. Murphy lifts COVID-19 testing requirements for unvaccinated teachers, state workers

Teachers, day care workers and state workers who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required to test weekly for the virus, under an executive order Gov. Phil Murphy signed on Monday.
“Hospitalizations are under 1,000 – most of them are COVID-incidental,” Murphy said.
The governor sited “considerable progress” against the virus as his reasoning for the executive order. It comes in the wake of updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the virus on Thursday.
But testing mandate is still in place for correctional police officers guarding inmates at New Jersey prisons, along with health care workers in settings like nursing homes.
Republicans who have called on the governor to change the policy for months say that Monday’s changes are better late than never.
“If people have a religious belief or a belief that they don’t want to vaccinate their children, then they shouldn’t be discriminated against,” says Republican state Sen. Anthony Bucco.
Bucco had backed a bill in May to end the testing requirements. Lawmakers from both parties had called on the governor to end the testing mandate, though Bucco is open to mandating health care workers get the vaccine.
“People are sick when they’re going into health care settings. So there may be some scientific benefit for that,” Bucco says.
The new requirements for school and day care staff and state workers all go into effect on Sept. 1.
The head of the New Jersey Education Association said in a statement that the order is, “another encouraging step back toward normalcy.”