NEW JERSEY — All school personnel and state workers in New Jersey will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.
The mandate impacts all school personnel in pre-K through grade 12 schools, and all state employees, including those at state agencies, authorities, public colleges and universities, would also be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.
If personnel are not fully vaccinated, they must undergo regular COVID-19 testing at least once or twice a week.
“As the school year rapidly approaches, we are continuing to do all we can to ensure as safe a start as possible,” Murphy said. “We’re not going to sacrifice the health of our kids or staff.”
The requirement impacts everyone, whether they are full, part-time or contract employees, the governor added.
The announcement comes the same day Mayor Bill de Blasio announced all New York City public school teachers and staff would be required to get vaccinated.
The city previously said teachers, like other city employees, would have to get the shots or get tested weekly for the virus. The new policy marks the first flat-out vaccination mandate for city workers in the nation’s most populous city.
Earlier this month, Murphy also reversed plans and announced a mask mandate in schools for the upcoming academic year.
Murphy announced the mask requirement, attributing the change in plans to the rampant spread of the delta variant, the fact that children under 12 are not eligible for vaccinations, and many of those 12 and older remain unvaccinated.
“The health and safety of our kids is among, if not my most, sacred responsibility as it is, by the way, of any governor,” Murphy said.
As soon as conditions allow, the mandate will be lifted, according to Murphy.
New Jersey is one of the states that has been fighting the virus’ highly contagious delta variant by ratcheting up pressure to get more people inoculated.
Vaccine mandates for teachers are fairly rare so far in the U.S., though Washington state, for one, says teachers must be inoculated or face dismissal. Vaccinate-or-test requirements are a bit more common.