All New Jersey school employees and state workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18th or agree to weekly testing, Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday.
The new rules apply to workers across public and private schools as well as all of its state agencies. Contract workers at state offices and employees at public state universities and colleges must follow this vax-or-test plan, too.
Murphy said the order extends to all part-time and full-time school employees, including custodians, food service workers and substitute teachers. School staff and students will also be required to wear masks while indoors, thanks to a separate policy issued earlier this month.
“Mandating every educator and staff member to either be vaccinated or get tested at a high rate of frequency, that plus masking is the right mix right now,” Murphy said Monday during a briefing in Trenton. “That both keeps people safe but also maximizes the ability to be in person Monday through Friday.”
The New Jersey Education Association called the executive order “appropriate” and “responsible.”
“We will continue to urge everyone who is eligible and able to get vaccinated. Along with masking and other COVID-19 safety measures, that is the best way to keep all of our communities safe and to move New Jersey through this pandemic,” the NJEA union said in a statement.
The announcement comes the same day that federal officials fully approved the Pfizer vaccine and that New York City public schools launched a vaccine mandate for its staff. School starts in two weeks for most New Jersey districts.