Ahead of the fresh school year, there’s been a renewed call for New Jersey to drop its COVID-19 testing mandates, as a Republican state lawmaker says they no longer fully align with federal recommendations.

Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Passaic, has asked Gov. Phil Murphy to immediately lift the COVID-testing mandate for unvaccinated teachers and school employees after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines for K-12 schools and early care and education programs.

Corrado was among a group of lawmakers that previously called for such sample testing to be stopped at the end of last school year, introducing legislation back in May.

As of Thursday, the CDC recommendation had shifted from overall COVID testing among asymptomatic students and school staff, to instead only testing around “high-risk activities” during high COVID-19 Community Level, or in response to an outbreak.

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A majority of New Jersey — all but four counties — were at high COVID-19 Community Level as of Friday. Cumberland, Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren counties were at medium levels, while the other 17 counties were at high level, based on the CDC’s web tool.

“For COVID-19, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease. Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, and communities,” according to the CDC.

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Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2022

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue. 

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