Under an executive order signed Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy, teachers, day care workers and state workers who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer have to be tested for the virus weekly.
“There are less than 1,000 hospitalizations, most of them associated with COVID,” Murphy said.
The governor cited “substantial progress” against the virus as the reason for the executive order. This follows Thursday’s updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the virus.
However, correctional officers guarding inmates in New Jersey prisons and medical workers working in nursing homes and other facilities are still required to be tested.
Republicans who have been calling for the governor to change policy for months say Monday’s change is better than no change at all.
Republican Senator Anthony Bucco said, “People shouldn’t be discriminated against if they have religious beliefs or beliefs that they don’t want their children vaccinated.”
Bucco backed legislation in May to end testing requirements. Legislators from both parties have called on the governor to end mandatory testing, but Bucco is open to imposing a mandatory vaccination requirement for health care workers.
“People are sick when they enter a medical facility, so there may be scientific advantages to that,” says Bucco.
All new requirements for school and daycare staff and civil servants will go into effect September 1st.
In a statement, the head of the New Jersey Educational Association said the order was “another encouraging step toward normalization.”