UPDATE: This mandate applies “to all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools.”
Today at his press conference Gov. Phil Murphy announced a vaccine mandate for all New Jersey state workers, including public school employees at district, charter, and renaissance schools. If workers don’t get vaccinated, they will be subject to COVID tests twice a week. The deadline for the mandate to go into effect is October 18th. In addition to all school staff, the mandate effects those, said Murphy, “at all state agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities — whether they be full- or part-time, or contract employees.”
The mandate is supported by leaders of the New Jersey Education Association. In Newark, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (the other national teachers union), Newark Teachers Union president John Abeigon had already told staff to prepare for a vaccine mandate. Currently only 1/3 of Newark teachers have submitted proof of vaccination.
Murphy is the third governor in the U.S. (the other states are California and Hawaii) to issue a vaccine mandate for teachers, with an alternative of twice-a-week testing. Washington State does not offer a testing option. New York City, under order from Mayor Bill de Blasio, also has a vaccine mandate for teachers.
The mandate was timed to coincide with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which “could potentially provide the state with some legal cover for its mandate.”
All of New Jersey’s 21 counties are now listed as having “high” rates of coronavirus transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NEW: All preschool-through-12 school personnel are required to complete a full vaccination course or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week.
Full compliance is required by October 18th. pic.twitter.com/OeoCNPgosA
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 23, 2021