NJEA statement on new COVID safety measures for schools

Executive order will require either proof of vaccination or regular testing of school employees

Today, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he will issue an executive order requiring public employees in New Jersey, including school employees, to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or to undergo regular testing for COVID-19 during the upcoming school year. He previously had issued a similar executive order covering health care workers and some other employees in congregate care settings. This new executive order expands that requirement to a much larger group of New Jersey adults.

NJEA President Marie Blistan, Vice President and President-elect Sean M. Spiller, Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President-elect Steve Beatty and Secretary-Treasurer-elect Petal Robertson issued this statement:

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have called for following the guidance of public health officials to keep the students and staff in our public schools safe. Gov. Murphy has been a great partner in that effort to ensure that our students continue to learn and grow while remaining as protected as possible. Today’s executive order, which requires school employees either to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing, is another example of Gov. Murphy’s unwavering commitment to the health and safety of NJEA members and the students we serve.

“For months now, NJEA has strongly supported and publicly promoted vaccination for all eligible individuals. We ran ads last spring featuring our members talking about the importance of vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines are the best tool we have to better protect our schools and communities against this pandemic and the terrible toll it continues to take. Public health experts agree on the importance of widespread vaccination. That is why we strongly agree that Gov. Murphy’s executive order is appropriate and responsible under current conditions.

“We will continue to urge everyone who is eligible and able to get vaccinated. Along with masking and other COVID-19 safety measures, that is the best way to keep all of our communities safe and to move New Jersey through this pandemic.”