Citing unnecessary rules that continue to be enforced across New Jersey, Senator Declan O’Scanlon called for all remaining COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted statewide.
“New Jersey’s public health emergency is over and there aren’t any recommended COVID-19 restrictions that should be imposed in New Jersey under new CDC guidelines,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “That hasn’t stopped some schools, colleges, and government entities from continuing to impose unnecessary restrictions that do nothing from a public health perspective. It’s time for every organization to lift all of these unnecessary mandates statewide.”
In New Jersey, case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths have plummeted in recent months, leading to the state having the lowest level of risk where no restrictions are necessary, according to the CDC.
Despite the data showing clearly that it’s safe to return to normal life, O’Scanlon pointed to nonsensical restrictions that continue to be in place across New Jersey:
- K-12 school employees, including teachers, must continue to submit to COVID-19 testing once or twice weekly if they haven’t submitted proof of full vaccination. The estimated cost for continued testing ranges from $1.5 million to more than $3 million per week. Communications to districts from state testing coordinators indicate testing might continue through the summer.
- Vaccine mandates imposed by Governor Murphy through executive order remain in effect for health care workers, prison guards, and workers in congregate living facilities.
- Rutgers University requires masking in classrooms, computer labs, libraries, and some meeting spaces, but not others. Attendees of indoor events must continue to show proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event. Restrictions are stricter in some places. For example, spectators are still banned from attending Rutgers Swim program events, with parents forced to wait in their cars in the parking lot.
- Princeton University still requires weekly or monthly testing (depending on vaccination status) for asymptomatic faculty and students.
- At Ramapo College, faculty may require masks to be worn in their classes, clinical, and labs, and students must comply.
“It’s ridiculous that you can still find yourself in violation of a masking policy depending on which side of a doorway you are standing on inside a building at many of our esteemed institutions,” added O’Scanlon. “It’s crazy that we’re still forcing the testing of asymptomatic students and teachers, especially when the latest variant is no worse than a cold for most. And it’s nuts that they continue to impose vaccine requirements when virtually the entire state has either been vaccinated or had COVID already and has some level of immunity.”
On the continued K-12 testing mandate, O’Scanlon said, “The school testing mandate is absolutely, ridiculously stupid at this point, and a total waste of money.”
O’Scanlon called on Governor Murphy and the leaders of institutions that maintain broad restrictions to lift those requirements and allow people to take individual precautions as they see fit.
“The brilliant leaders of our cutting edge colleges and universities should do away with the theater of masks, testing, and vaccine requirements now that the data clearly demonstrates it isn’t necessary,” added O’Scanlon. “Governor Murphy should eliminate the testing requirement for teachers and repeal the vaccine mandate he imposed on thousands of workers that are no longer necessary. We can trust people to take the precautions that are right for their individual situations without all of the mandates.”