The COVID-vaccine mandate for New York City teachers and school staff will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday night, after a federal appeals court denied a motion for an injunction against enforcing the mandate.
The mandate had been set to take effect at midnight on Monday, but was delayed after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction this past Friday night, pending further court review. That review was completed on Monday, and three judges on the court then issued an order dissolved the temporary injunction and denied the full one.
De Blasio said Monday that New York City Department of Education employees had until 5 p.m. Friday to get their first dose of a COVID vaccine, and if they don’t do so by then, the city will assume the employees are not coming to work the following Monday and will also not be paid starting Monday. De Blasio said that the city would bring in substitutes or alternate workers to fill in for those employees, and claimed the city had enough personnel lined up to do so.
The DOE’s more than 150,000 employees are already required to submit either proof of vaccination or a weekly negative COVID-test result. The new mandate, announced in late August, removes the test-out option. More than 90 percent of teachers have already been vaccinated, but the vaccination rate for school staff members — including custodial staff, school lunch workers, and other personnel — is much lower (roughly 82 percent as of this weekend, according to the New York Times). Chalkbeat reported Saturday that some 30,000 DOE employees, including 10,000 teachers, still hadn’t submitted proof of vaccination.
There had been concerns that Monday’s mandate deadline would lead to teacher and staff shortages at schools across the city, and unions representing DOE employees have been pushing to delay enforcement of the mandate, in addition to opposing a mandate without the test-out option.
This post has been updated.