School teachers and support staff who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 would no longer have to undergo weekly testing for the virus, under a proposed law introduced by a Republican state lawmaker.

Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Passaic, said the COVID-19 public health emergency declared for New Jersey has been over for about a month now, but COVID testing of students, teachers, staff, bus drivers, and other K-12 school employees continues on a weekly basis, due to an executive order of Gov. Phil Murphy's that is still in place.

"Not only does such a policy impose restrictions and undue burdens on educators, it undermines the guidelines of the CDC itself," Corrado said. "There is just no rational explanation for this policy whatsoever."

For the week ending March 26, COVID activity was considered moderate in most of the Garden State. Activity was recorded as low in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties.

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"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," Corrado said. "It is time for Governor Murphy to follow the science and lift the testing requirement for teachers and staff immediately."

Murphy's office would not comment on the legislation. The New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, says it supports public health measures that remain in place to protect students and staff as New Jersey continues to emerge from the pandemic.

"Any changes to those measures should be made in consultation with public health experts, should be based on public health data and should be focused on the health and safety of students and staff," NJEA said.

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