Federal judge delays vaccination mandate for New York teachers

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Associated press kit

FILE – In this file photo from September 13, 2021, a girl walks past a “Welcome to School” sign as she arrives for the first day of class at PS 245 Elementary School in Brooklyn in New York City. Deaths and COVID-19 cases in the United States have returned to where they were over the winter, fueled by children now back in their classrooms, mask restrictions loosened and low immunization levels .

Schools in New York City were temporarily barred from enforcing a vaccination warrant for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge just days before it went into effect.

Workers in the country’s largest school system were to be required to show proof of vaccination from Monday. But on Friday night, a judge in the U.S. 2nd Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction sought by a group of teachers pending review by a panel of three judges, which will consider the petition on Wednesday.

Education Department spokeswoman Danielle Filson said officials were seeking an early resolution in court.

“We are confident that our immunization mandate will continue to be met once all the facts have been presented, as this is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” Filson said in an email.

The New York Post reported that the ministry emailed directors on Saturday morning saying they “should continue to prepare for the possibility of the vaccination mandate going into effect later in the week.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that approximately 148,000 school employees are expected to receive at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27. The policy covers teachers, as well as other staff, such as guards and cafeteria workers.

This is the first vaccination mandate without a testing option for a large group of employees in the country’s most populous city. And it reflects a similar statewide mandate for hospital and nursing home workers that is due to go into effect on Monday.

As of Friday, 82% of the department’s employees have been vaccinated, including 88% of teachers.

Even though most school workers have been vaccinated, unions representing New York City principals and teachers have warned that the one-million-student school system could still miss up to 10,000 teachers, as well as other staff.

De Blasio resisted calls to delay the mandate, insisting the city was ready.

“We have everything planned. We have a lot of replacements ready, ”the Democrat said in a radio interview on Friday. “A lot is going to happen by Monday but beyond that we’re ready, even up to, if we need thousands, we have thousands.”


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