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People come to be tested for COVID-19 at a test site in Paramus, New Jersey. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced in a series of tweets Monday that all state workers and preschool through high school teachers will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or submit to weekly testing.

Why it matters: New Jersey joins a growing contingent of states instituting similar requirements for state employees and school teachers and staff.

The state of play: The new mandate will apply to employees at state agencies, authorities, public colleges and universities, and all staff at all preschools and K-12 schools — including "public, private and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools" — the Democratic governor said in a series of tweets.

  • It will apply equally to both full- and part-time employees, he added.
  • "We’re continuing to do all we can to ensure a safe start to the school year," Murphy tweeted.
  • "Strong masking and vaccination protocols, in tandem with other safety measures, are our best consolidated tool for keeping our schools open for full-time, in-person instruction," he added.

The big picture: The New Jersey Education Association and state chapters of the School Nurses Association and American Academy of Pediatrics all support the order, the Associated Press reports.

  • States, including California and Washington, have passed vaccine mandates for school staff.
  • While California will allow teachers and state workers to submit to regular testing if they don't want to be vaccinated, Washington adopted a harder line, making non-compliers potentially subject to firing.
  • Earlier Monday, New York City announced a vaccine mandate for public school staff that will not allow an option for weekly testing.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Fauci: "I would vaccinate them in a second" — CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds.
  2. Health: COVID cases fall by 20% — Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic — Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization, study finds — COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought.
  3. Politics: NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate — Judge rejects Southwest pilots' challenge to vaccine mandate — Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools.
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 27, 2021 - Health

COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought

Tyson Foods in Portland, Maine, in 2020. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Cases and deaths from COVID-19 among workers at the five largest U.S. meatpacking companies were nearly three times higher than previously thought, according to a memo from the House panel probing the response to the pandemic.

Driving the news: At least 59,000 workers contracted COVID-19 and 269 workers died at Tyson Foods, JBS USA, Cargill, National Beef and Smithfield Foods — which together make up more than 80% of the beef market and 60% of the pork market in the U.S. — according to counts through January of this year.

Judge rejects Southwest pilots' challenge to vaccine mandate

A Southwest Airlines plane leaves the gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 21. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A judge ruled that Southwest Airlines can mandate its 9,000 pilots to be vaccinated against COVID-19, declining a union request for a restraining order on the policy, per AP.

Details: U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said in her ruling against the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association on Tuesday that the airline was meeting its goal on air transportation safety and "providing 'safe and reasonable working conditions' for pilots, by preventing the spread of disease" with the requirement, the Dallas Morning News noted.