State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40) has introduced legislation that calls 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.
Corrado offered that case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths have plummeted in recent months in the Garden State, leading to the state having the lowest level of risk where no restrictions are necessary as per CDC guidance.
“New Jersey’s public health emergency supposedly ended on March 4 and yet public schools are still testing teachers, staff, bus drivers, and other K-12 school employees for COVID-19 on a weekly basis,” said the Passaic County lawmaker on April 6. “Not only does such a policy impose restrictions and undue burdens on educators, it undermines the guidelines of the CDC itself. There is just no rational explanation for this policy whatsoever.”
But Gov. Phil Murphy, in his first public appearance since testing positive for the coronavirus last week, urged people to remember COVID-19 is still a concern.
“Allow my experience to be a reminder that even though we may be past the worst of COVID, we are not entirely past COVID,” Murphy said at the beginning of his address in Jersey City for St. Peter’s University’s 150th Anniversary Founders’ Week Celebration. He had been isolated at his home for five days prior. “Allow me to be your proof that the virus is still among us and please use me as your example of the need to continue to be smart and safe, and continue to use common sense and common courtesy.”
COVID Requirements Remaining
Murphy added he was planning to get his second booster—recommended for people over 50 years old—around the time he tested positive for the virus and credited being vaccinated and boosted for being “able to make it through COVID with nothing more than mild symptoms.”
The COVID-19 public health emergency was lifted on March 4 with the school mask mandate just days later. But still in effect are the mandates for workers to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing, including teachers, healthcare workers and correctional officers.
But Corrado believes the executive order should have never been enacted in the first place.
“Executive order 253 contains so many blatant errors that it should have been revoked shortly after it was signed,” added Corrado. “The order itself justifies mandated testing of those who did not receive the vaccine on the grounds that the vaccine can ‘Prevent individuals from getting and spreading the virus.’ This is a fallacious claim, and yet, it remains the sole justification for the weekly testing of all education staff.”
Follow the Science
Additionally, Corrado opined that the evolution of the coronavirus itself is another reason to cease all testing mandates. Data released in early March showed the omicron variant was the most dominant variant by far in the United States and 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, with symptoms similar to the common cold. This is true even for individuals who did not receive the vaccine,” said Corrado. “It is time for Gov. Murphy to follow the science and lift the testing requirement for teachers and staff immediately.”
“We should trust people to take the precautions that are right for their individual situations without government mandates.”