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Gov. Murphy lifts COVID testing requirement for unvaccinated teachers, employees in New Jersey schools

Testing requirement lifted for unvaccinated N.J. teachers and school employees
Testing requirement lifted for unvaccinated N.J. teachers and school employees 01:57

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Another COVID mandate has been lifted in New Jersey, just in time for the new school year.

Regular testing will no longer be required for unvaccinated teachers and child care workers, CBS2's Christina Fan reported Monday.

Back to school means back to normal this fall for teachers across the Garden State. Last year, remote learning and mask-wearing ended. This year, routine COVID testing will also become a part of the past.

"I think I do feel okay with it," one person said.

"It's a little iffy. It's a touchy subject," another said.

"Seeing the cases go up and down, I'm definitely a little cautious," another added.

For the last year, unvaccinated teachers and child care workers were required to undergo weekly COVID testing.

On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order lifting the mandate for educators as well as state contractors, tweeting, "We're continuing to follow the latest guidance from the CDC as we adjust to the endemic reality of COVID-19."

While many parents were on board, others showed hesitation.

"It's kind of painful to have it once a week," said Amir Admadi of Edgewater.

"I think overall it's okay. We've been out and about and overall we don't know the vaccination status of people in the park and anywhere else we go," added Kunal Parikh of Hoboken.

Kids as young as 6 months old may be eligible for the shot, but vaccination rates for children under 18 is only 38.7 percent in New Jersey.

"I would be for testing. If I was a teacher, I would want to make sure everybody on the staff would not be testing positive," said Brian McMullan of Hoboken.

"I'm just worried about my kids because she didn't get vaccinated yet, so just not sure," Reem Wan added.

State Sen. Vin Gopal, who has been lobbying the governor to end testing, argues declining immunity and ever-changing subvariants meant even those who got the shot were catching COVID frequently.

"We're creating more and more of a schism and, unfortunately, politics in some of these school districts between vaccinated and unvaccinated. It's clear if someone hasn't been vaccinated, they probably don't want to, and federal funds are running out," Gopal said.

Vaccine requirements will still remain in place for some workers, including those in health care, correctional facilities, and nursing homes.

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