NEW JERSEY – Senators Kristin M. Corrado and Anthony M. Bucco have introduced legislation calling for an end to weekly testing for New Jersey public school teachers, support staff, and bus drivers who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“New Jersey’s public health emergency ended more than two months ago on March 4 and yet public schools are still testing teachers, bus drivers, and other K-12 school employees for COVID-19 on a weekly basis,” said Corrado (R-40). “This absurd and unnecessary policy not only imposes restrictions and undue burdens on educators, but it undermines the guidelines of the CDC itself. There is no rational explanation for this policy whatsoever.”
According to the CDC, New Jersey’s case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths have plummeted in recent months, leading to the state having a low level of risk where restrictions are no longer necessary.
The COVID-19 public health emergency was lifted on March 4, 2022 when Gov. Murphy signed executive order No. 292. However, multiple executive orders were not rescinded, the senators said.
Last week, Senate Republicans sent a letter to Governor Murphy calling on him to lift all remaining vaccine and testing mandates for teachers, health care workers, nursing home aids, and corrections officers.
“It’s absurd that we as legislators need to introduce formal legislation in order to reign in the Governor’s overbearing executive orders,” said Bucco (R-25). “This testing mandate for educators is completely irrational and is not supported by any sort of scientific consensus.”
The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 itself is another reason to cease all testing mandates. Recent data showed the omicron variant—the mildest COVID variant that typically presents with cold-like symptoms—was the most dominant variant by far in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia. The more serious variants, such as alpha, beta, and delta, have all but disappeared.
“As we have seen with omicron, COVID has become a relatively mild illness for most people, including those who are not vaccinated, 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.”