A mandate requiring New York City teachers and other school staff members to get the COVID-19 vaccine went into effect, marking one of the first U.S. school district mandates requiring employees to be inoculated.
On Oct. 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, warned the city’s 150,000 public school workers that unvaccinated employees would be placed on unpaid leave and wouldn’t be allowed to work. The mandate went into effect that afternoon, meaning that all teachers and workers would have to have received at least one dose by the morning of Oct. 4.
Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers said that about 97 percent of its members have received one dose of the vaccine.
“At any time, if they get vaccinated, they can go back to work the following day,” he told CNN on Oct. 4.
According to data provided by the city as of Oct. 1, 98 percent of principals, 93 percent of teachers, and 90 percent of Department of Education workers have received at least one dose.
Meanwhile, city schools chancellor Meisha Porter told the news outlet that she doesn’t expect the mandate to trigger a teacher or staffing shortage.
“We have more subs that are vaccinated than unvaccinated, teachers and our superintendents have been working with our principals to develop plans to ensure our students get the education and continue to get the education they deserve in person,” Porter said.
However, Mark Cannizzaro, president of the Council of Schools Supervisors and Administrators, said that some principals in New York City were having trouble finding enough staff to replace teachers who aren’t vaccinated.
“While we’re thankful that the percentage of vaccinated staff has increased systemwide since the deadline was extended, there are still too many school leaders that have been unable to find qualified substitutes for Monday,” Cannizzaro said, The Associated Press reported.
A similar mandate for teachers and school staff is scheduled to go into effect in Los Angeles on Oct. 15.
A group of teachers and other employees filed a lawsuit against the citywide mandate, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the request on Oct. 1.
Numerous studies have shown that of all the age groups, children appear to have the lowest risk of dying from COVID-19, suffering serious symptoms, or being hospitalized. A landmark study from several UK universities published over the summer revealed that five times more children have committed suicide during the pandemic than died from COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.