A new executive directive has been issued requiring all schools in the Garden State to submit reports on all COVID activity among students and staff to the New Jersey Health Department on a weekly basis.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the requirement, which goes into effect October 26, “will give us a more complete picture of the cases and vaccination rates among students and staff which we can then report out to all of you.”

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said as we move into the colder weather months, “this data will provide insight on the circulation of the virus among school children and school staff.”

Data will include cases reported by schools, vendors, parents, teachers, and staff.

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The new weekly report will not include data already being collected on the number of COVID outbreaks in districts, including the number of students and staff that test positive for the virus linked to in-school transmission.

Schools will also report aggregate vaccination data on staff and students.

Persichilli said the new weekly report does not replace the requirement that testing administrators report individual COVID-19 test results to their local public health authorities.

“The Department will collect the information, analyze it for trends, and when we have complete data we will share it in an aggregate form on our dashboard,” she said.

Last month Persichilli reported 758 schools have signed up to get millions of dollars in federal grant money to help pay for school testing and screening for COVID.

Since the start of the new school year, there have been 69 COVID outbreaks reported in 62 districts.

A total of 319 students and 60 teachers and support staff have tested positive for COVID stemming from situations involving in-school transmission.

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