Judges Approve NYC Teacher Vaccine Mandate

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A panel of judges in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan put forward a brief on Monday that said New York City can go forward with its vaccine mandate for teachers and staff in the nation’s largest public school system after the order was temporarily blocked. 

As reported by CNBC, “After an adverse ruling from a Brooklyn judge, a group of teachers had brought the case to the appeals court, which assigned a three-judge panel to hear oral arguments Wednesday. But the appeals panel issued its order Monday after written arguments were submitted by both sides.”

A lawyer who brought the lawsuit for the teachers and other people pushing back against the mandate said he and another attorney would be taking the issue to the Supreme Court. 

“As of this moment the mandate is in place,” attorney Mark Fonte said, noting that he and fellow lawyer Louis Gelormino were “dismayed and disappointed by this turn of events.”

Fonte added, “With thousands of teachers not vaccinated the City may regret what it wished for. Our children will be left with no teachers and no security in schools.”

In August, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials “announced a new health care mandate requiring all New York City Department of Education [(DOE)] employees to provide proof of first dose of vaccination by September 27th.” 

“Keeping our students and staff healthy is our top priority,” said de Blasio at the time. “To keep our schools healthy and safe, we are now requiring all Department of Education staff to have at least one dose of the vaccine by September 27. Together, we will create a safe and welcoming school experience for our kids.”

The vaccine mandate is now set for next week, with the deadline for employees to be vaccinated going into effect at the end of the day on Friday. 

A DOE spokesperson reportedly said, “Vaccinations are our strongest tool in the fight against COVID-19 – this ruling is on the right side of the law and will protect our students and staff.” 

The person added, “The mandate will go into effect on Friday end of day so that by Monday, October 4, 100% of educators and staff in our buildings will be vaccinated.”

Many around the city and country are looking at the mandate to see what other local governments might implement in their own jurisdictions. 

Some union leaders have called on de Blasio to hold off on enforcing the order, citing potential staffing issues as unvaccinated staff are no longer able to work. 

The mayor, however, has pushed back against waiting to implement the mandate and has said that he is sure they will have the necessary supply of staff. 

As reported by The New York Times: 

Mr. de Blasio said Monday that roughly 97 percent of principals and about 95 percent of teachers had been vaccinated, according to estimates from the city and unions representing teachers and principals, and that 87 percent of non-teaching school staff had received at least one shot. Roughly 8,000 Department of Education employees received a vaccination dose over the weekend in anticipation of the deadline.

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