Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied a request of four New York City public school teachers to block Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate requiring all Department of Education (DOE) personnel to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Bronx native said Friday that the nation’s highest court would not hear the impeachment, which sought to stop the city’s order just before it fully takes effect.
“Our immunization requirement for New York City school personnel has now been reviewed in state courts, federal courts, and the Supreme Court and confirmed,” tweeted Dr. Dave Chokshi, city health commissioner, on response to the news. “Vaccination will keep students and staff safer.”
The deadline for DOE staff to receive at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine was originally September 27, but was delayed due to a temporary suspension that a federal judge issued after a coalition of unions sued the law firm. city for its vaccination requirements for municipal workers. . A federal court of appeals clarified the mandate to move forward Monday night and Mayor de Blasio set Friday, October 1 at 5 p.m. as the new deadline for DOE staff to get vaccinated, which means it would be ready when classes resumed next week.
As of Friday, at least 90% of all DOE employees were vaccinated with at least one injection, according to city data. Among teachers, the rate was 93%, meaning that around 5,500 of the city’s 78,000 educators were still not meeting the mandate. About 98% of the directors were vaccinated, with only around 30 retained. Approximately 500 DOE employees have received medical or religious exemptions.
“Support systems are in place to ensure schools have the staff they need to care for their students,” the DOE said in a statement sent Friday afternoon. That includes a pool of 9,000 vaccinated substitute teachers and 5,000 vaccinated substitute paraprofessionals, as well as flexible new funding for schools to hire additional employees as needed. “We are also offering a financial incentive to all substitute teachers and substitute paraprofessionals in addition to their regular salary,” the DOE said.
The DOE added that it has been running on-site vaccination clinics for eligible staff and students during the first two weeks of school.
Employees who have not submitted proof of vaccination by the deadline will be placed on leave without pay. But if they upload proof of vaccination over the weekend, they will be able to return to work on Monday without interruption, the DOE said.