Governor issues COVID-19 vaccine mandate for New Jersey school workers, state employees

In a news conference on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said the staffers must be vaccinated by October 18th.
TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- All pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers and other school personnel in New Jersey will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo testing.

That order also applies to state employees.

In a news conference on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said the staffers must be vaccinated by October 18.

Anyone who is not vaccinated by then will have to undergo regular testing. Murphy said that testing will be a minimum of once to twice each week.

VACCINE MANDATE FOR NJ SCHOOL WORKERS



The vaccine mandate for school personnel includes all public, private and parochial preschool programs, along with elementary and secondary schools including charter and Renaissance schools.

The order also applies to both full-time and part-time employees.



"We're continuing to do all we can to ensure a safe start to the school year. Strong masking and vaccination protocols, in tandem with other safety measures, are our best consolidated tool for keeping our schools open for full-time, in-person instruction," Murphy said.

Along with teachers, the order also includes administrators, educational support professionals, those providing food, custodial or administrative support services, and substitute teachers - whether employed directly by a school or otherwise contracted - and other school employees.

"I believe it protects everyone," said Traci Crespo, a pre-school teacher in Vineland. "I just think everybody's personal opinion... it's just a touchy subject. I personally just want to get back to normal. Whatever it takes to get back to how it was two years ago."

Teacher Debbie Gentile said she is already vaccinated and supports Murphy's executive order, but said it puts some employees in a tough spot.

"It's hard to tell somebody that, in order for them to work in the school system, that they have to be vaccinated," said Gentile, a teacher in Somers Point. "Some people don't believe in getting vaccinated and then to get a test what every week? That's a lot."

VACCINE MANDATE FOR NJ STATE WORKERS



Murphy also announced Monday that all New Jersey state workers will be under the same vaccine mandate.

Those employed at state agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities are required to complete a full vaccination course by October 18 or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week.



NYC SCHOOL WORKERS MUST ALSO BE VACCINATED



On Monday, New York City announced a similar vaccine requirement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says public school employees will have to have received at least one dose by September 27. The new vaccination policy will not allow weekly testing as an option.

Murphy's announcement comes on the same day the U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, a milestone that may help lift public confidence in the shots as the nation battles the most contagious coronavirus mutant yet.

SEE ALSO: Local medical experts discuss COVID-19 booster shots
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