Murphy Announces School Personnel Vaccine Mandate; Expands State Worker Requirement

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order today requiring all preschool through grade 12 school personnel to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. The governor also announced that all state employees, including all those at state agencies, authorities and public colleges and universities must also be fully vaccinated by the same date.

Personnel that choose not to be vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing per the executive order.

A previous order had already required some state employees, particularly those working at healthcare and correctional facilities, to be subject to the same vaccination and testing requirements. The announcement today extends to all state workers.

Today’s mandate applies to all public, private and parochial preschool programs, as well as elementary and secondary schools including charter and renaissance schools. It also applies to all individuals employed by a school regardless of whether they work full time or part time, including:

  • Administrators
  • Educators
  • Educational support professionals
  • Food and custodial workers
  • Administrative support services
  • Substitute teachers
  • Contracted and other school employees

“We expect district leaders will work collaboratively and collectively with local union leadership on smoothing out operational or other logistical aspects, especially if there is a need for larger scale testing of workers over the next couple of months,” Murphy said.

The governor added that “schools have access to multiple sources of funding” to address the costs associated with employee vaccination and testing, citing three rounds of funding from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) as well as Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) as two examples.

“We do not believe that meeting this order will be especially hard to do,” Murphy said. “We have received multiple local reports that point to an overwhelming majority of our educational and classroom leaders having already been vaccinated.”

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