NJ to require COVID vaccine or regular tests for all school employees

New Jersey will require all school teachers, staff, and personnel for preschool through grade 12 to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Oct. 18 or to undergo COVID tests at least once a week, announced Gov. Phil Murphy Monday.

"This order applies to all public, private, and parochial preschool programs elementary and secondary schools including charter and renaissance schools. It applies to all individuals employed by a school regardless of whether they work full time or part-time," said Murphy during a briefing on the pandemic.

Administrators, educators, educational support professionals, food providers, substitute teachers, custodial workers, and all other school employees will be required to follow the mandate.

New Jersey has about 130,000 public school teachers, 1.3 million public school students, and an estimated 70,000 state workers.

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"Scientific data shows that vaccination and testing requirements, coupled with strong masking policies, are the best tools for keeping our schools and communities safe for in-person activities," said Murphy.