Murphy lifts routine coronavirus testing requirements for school and child care staff, state contractors

Close-up of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy as he speaks.

File photo: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks to reporters during a briefing in Trenton, N.J., Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order lifting mandates that required unvaccinated school and child care workers and state contractors to undergo routine testing for COVID-19.

Murphy’s executive order comes just days after the CDC announced it would no longer recommend routine testing, except in counties where transmission rates are high.

“With children as young as 6 months old now eligible for vaccines and millions of New Jerseyans vaccinated and boosted, more of our residents are safe from severe illness due to COVID-19,” Murphy said in a statement. “As always, I encourage everyone to stay up-to-date on their vaccination and take other precautions as necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones from this virus.”

Republican state lawmakers had called on Murphy to lift the routine testing mandate as early as Thursday when the CDC’s updated guidelines were released.

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“It was never clear why it took so long, but educators no longer have to worry about unnecessary vaccination requirements and repetitive testing,” Sen. Michael Testa (R-Cape May) said on Monday.

“The pandemic threat has evolved, and finally, the Administration’s directive has matured as well,” Testa said.

Though the executive order immediately goes into effect for schools and child care facilities, the Murphy Administration said school districts and child care centers can still require routine testing as they see fit.

The CDC still recommends universal indoor masking for students and teachers, as the new school year is set to begin Sept. 13 in New Jersey.

Routine testing for state contractors will end on Sept. 1.

Workers in correctional facilities, congregate care, and health care settings are still expected to be up-to-date on their vaccination status, according to the Governor’s Office.

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