Following Republican state Sen. Kristin Corrado's response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rollback of COVID-19 testing and quarantine guidelines, another legislator from the same side of the aisle as Phil Murphy is also calling on the governor to end testing mandates in New Jersey schools.

In a three-tweet thread Saturday, Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, said he has been lobbying the state to curb weekly testing and has had "optimistic" conversations with the governor's office although no change in policy has yet been announced.

The CDC's latest guidance favors testing only during "high-risk activities" when the COVID Community Level is also high, or in response to an outbreak.

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Corrado had called on Murphy to immediately end testing protocols for unvaccinated teachers and school employees, having already been among a group of New Jersey lawmakers who introduced legislation to that effect at the end of the 2021-22 academic year.

Gopal identified "a schism between vaccinated and unvaccinated teachers and employees" as one of his three reasons for changing school COVID policies in the Garden State.

Across his first and second tweets, Gopal said his primary reason was that the now-dominant BA.5 strain of the omicron variant means that "those who are vaccinated are spreading COVID just as much as someone who has the J&J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine over a year ago has probably had the vaccine wane."

The Democratic senator also expressed concern about federal funds drying up. He said his conversations with the governor's office had been happening "throughout last week."

"I am hopeful we will hear good news soon," Gopal tweeted.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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