Gov. Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order No. 264, requiring all child care center personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1 or be subject to COVID-19 testing at a minimum of one to two times per week.
Additionally, and in accordance with CDC recommendations, the order also clarifies that all employees, visitors, students and children age 2 and over must wear a face mask indoors, with limited exceptions, according to a press release from Murphy’s office.
According to Murphy, these requirements will strengthen protections against COVID-19 to children in these settings who are all under 12 years old and not yet eligible for vaccination.
“We know there are already many child care providers who are doing their utmost to protect the children in their care, their employees and their communities, and we thank them,” Murphy was quoted as saying in the press release.
“This order ensures everyone is abiding by the same strong standards to protect those who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, so we can continue to offer safe, in-person learning environments for children of all ages,” he said.
For purposes of Executive Order No. 264, child care settings include any facility defined as a child care center pursuant to state law.
For purposes of Executive Order No. 264, child care personnel include all individuals employed by the covered setting, both full-time and part-time, including, but not limited to, administrators, teachers, individuals providing food, custodial and administrative support services, contractors, providers, and any other individuals performing work in covered settings whose job duties require them to make regular visits to such covered settings, including volunteers.
Covered workers do not include individuals who visit the covered setting only to provide one-time or limited-duration repairs, services or construction.
All child care centers will have until Nov. 1 to come into full compliance with the vaccine or testing requirement, according to the press release.
At that time, if a worker has not submitted proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the worker will be required to submit to a minimum once to twice weekly testing.
Regardless of whether the setting is providing workers with on-site access to testing or requiring workers to submit proof of a COVID-19 test, both antigen and molecular tests will be acceptable to fulfill the requirements of the order, according to the press release.
Workers are considered “fully vaccinated” for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine.
Workers for whom vaccination status is unknown or who have not provided sufficient proof of document must be considered unvaccinated, according to the press release.
The executive order will not impact a child care center’s ability to impose more stringent vaccination or testing requirements on workers, including any requirement for more frequent testing, for testing of vaccinated and unvaccinated staff, and for mandatory vaccinations without a testing alternative, according to the press release.