State mulls COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers as new school year approaches

Gov. Phil Murphy says an announcement on whether teachers will also be required to get vaccinated could be coming soon.

News 12 Staff

Aug 10, 2021, 9:42 AM

Updated 987 days ago


Vaccine mandates are becoming the norm as the delta variant spreads and COVID-19 cases rise.
The surge of cases in New Jersey prompted Gov. Phil Murphy to mandate that some state workers and health care providers receive the COVID-19 vaccine. And now some are asking if the same mandate should be required of teachers.
The governor also announced last week that masks are mandatory in all New Jersey schools. This applies to students, faculty and staff. Teachers and students over the age of 12 are being encouraged to get the vaccine, but it is not yet required.
News 12 New Jersey checked in with three school districts to see how many teachers are vaccinated. The Cherry Hill School District reports that 95% of teachers have gotten the shot. In the Mount Olive School District, it is 80%. Paterson reports that 65% of teachers are vaccinated.
Some parents tell News 12 that they are not generally in favor of vaccine mandates.
“I would think they would want to do this and it should be urged and encouraged, but I’m not positive it should be mandated,” says Jessica Cofon, of Tinton Falls.
Cofon workers within the RWJBarnabas Health system and says that she is vaccinated, partly because of the mandate for health care workers. Her daughter is 8 years old and it not eligible to get the vaccine. But Cofon says that she would allow her child to get the shot when it is approved for children under the age of 12.
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Parent Shelia Ferinden says that she plans to get the vaccine next week, but mostly so that she could attend a concert in New York City next month.
“It should be a personal choice. It should not be mandated,” she says. “Honestly, the only reason we’re getting vaccinated next Monday is so we can go see Harry Styles in Madison Square Garden in October.”
On Monday, Murphy addressed if the vaccine for teachers will be mandatory.
“My guess is within the next two or three weeks, we’ll have something,” the governor said.
The New Jersey Education Association has recently run advertisements supporting vaccination.
“Getting schools reopened is so important for students’ development and getting vaccinated is one way we can do that,” the ad stated.
And reading a vaccine mandate, if one is issued, a spokesperson for the NJEA says, "…we will work to ensure that it is implemented in a way that protects the health and welfare of everyone involved."

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