One federal judge made a move against New York City schools and their plans to enforce a vaccine mandate. According to the Associated Press, the judge temporarily blocked schools from requiring teachers and other school employees to be at least partially vaccinated by September 27.
The mandate came in August straight from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. At the time, he announced that approximately 148,000 school employees have until this upcoming Monday to receive, at minimum, the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The policy calls on teachers and other school workers such as cafeteria staff and custodians.
The injunction was granted on Friday evening by a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A group of teachers are behind the effort to get the mandate blocked. Still, Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said they’re working towards a “speedy resolution.”
“We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” Filson said in an email, according to AP.
The department, per the New York Post, actually reached out to school principals on Saturday morning. An email was sent alerting principals that the judge’s decision isn’t final. An excerpt of the email warns to prepare “for the possibility that the vaccine mandate will go into effect later this week.”
This temporary block comes as the country struggles with bridging the gap between people pro-vaccine and those against it. Mayor Bill’s mandate is actually the city’s “first no-test-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers.”
With New York City boasting the nation’s most populated city and largest school system, Mayor Bill has no plans to delay the mandate. He actually said in a Friday radio interview that the city isn’t unprepared for the potential shortage in teachers.
“We’ve been planning all along,” Mayor Bill said. “We have a lot of substitutes ready. A lot is going to happen between now and Monday but beyond that, we are ready, even to the tune of, if we need thousands, we have thousands.”
AP reports that as of Friday “82% of department employees” are vaccinated, including “88% of teachers.” Still, school employee unions say that about 10,000 teachers and staffers would be affected by an enforced vaccine mandate.
This is a developing story.
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