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Murphy says $267M set aside for COVID-19 testing at schools

September 1, 2021 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is earmarking $267 million for school districts to set up regular COVID-19 testing.

Speaking Monday at a news conference, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said the funds will come from the federal government and will help the state’s more than 600 school districts set up regular testing. The funding comes after Murphy earlier required teachers and staff to be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

Those people and students are fully vaccinated won’t have to participate in the regular screenings, according to Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. She said schools are “strong encouraged” to set up a testing program but stopped short of mandating it.

Schools will have to devise a process to get consent from parents for testing, she added.

Murphy also mandated earlier this summer that staff, teachers, students and visitors at schools must wear masks while indoors on school grounds.

Schools across the state have just begun their academic years.