NJ lawmakers want to stop weekly COVID testing for unvaccinated teachers
School teachers and support staff who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 would no longer have to undergo weekly testing for the virus, under a proposed law introduced by Republican state lawmakers.
Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Passaic, said the COVID-19 public health emergency declared for New Jersey has been over for more than two months now, but COVID testing of teachers, staff, bus drivers and other K-12 school employees continues on a weekly basis, due to an executive order of Gov. Phil Murphy's that is still in place.
"This absurd and unnecessary policy not only imposes restrictions and undue burdens on educators, but it undermines the guidelines of the CDC itself," Corrado said. "There is no rational explanation for this policy whatsoever."
"This testing mandate for educators is completely irrational and is not supported by any sort of scientific consensus," added Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris.
Senate Republicans sent a letter to Murphy last week calling on him to lift this and other COVID-related mandates for teachers, nursing home aids, and corrections officers.
For the week ending April 30, COVID activity was considered moderate in every region of the Garden State.
"As we have seen with omicron, COVID has become a relatively mild illness for most people, with symptoms similar to the common cold," Bucco said. "It's time for Governor Murphy to lift this unnecessary testing requirement so that New Jersey can join the rest of the nation and move on from this pandemic."
Murphy's office does not comment on pending legislation. The New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, has said it supports public health measures that remain in place to protect students and staff as New Jersey continues to emerge from the pandemic.
"Any changes to those measures should be made in consultation with public health experts, should be based on public health data and should be focused on the health and safety of students and staff," NJEA told New Jersey 101.5 in April.