A federal appeals panel on Monday ruled in favor of New York City’s vaccine mandate for teachers and other Department of Education staffers in public schools, just hours before it was scheduled to begin.
Plaintiffs, a group of teachers, had asked for a temporary injunction against the mandate, which requires all workers to show proof that they’ve received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, stating that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause. That clause states in part that no state can “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
On Sept. 24, a federal judge granted the request to temporarily block it, and a three-judge panel had been scheduled to hear the case this coming Wednesday.
But in a surprise turn of events, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its ruling Monday evening instead, dissolving the prior injunction without providing any further explanation as to why.
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that Department of Education staff have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 1 to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, noting that the swift decision also came as a surprise to him.
“If you have not gotten that first dose by Friday, 5 o’clock, we will assume you are not coming to work on Monday and you will not be paid starting Monday and we will fill your role with a substitute or an alternative employee,” the Democrat said.
The decision has prompted concerns that there will soon be a shortage of teaching staff. Some unions have called for a delay.
“The courts have cleared the way for the city to begin enforcing the city’s vaccine mandate for school employees,” the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement following the sudden decision.
“The city’s estimate is that 97 percent of the teachers have been vaccinated, but according to our recent survey of UFT chapter leaders, only about one-third believe that as of now their schools can open without disruption, given the potential shortage of unvaccinated personnel, including school aides and security personnel,” he added. “The city has a lot of work before it to ensure that enough vaccinated staff will be available by the new deadline. We will be working with our members to ensure, as far as possible, that our schools can open safely as the vaccine mandate is enforced.”
Louis Gelormino, an attorney for the UFT, told Fox News he was considering taking the case to the Supreme Court.
“How can laying off or suspending 28,000, and that’s not an exaggerated number, DoE employees not have an effect on the New York City schools, which don’t run very efficiently in the best of times,” he said. “We’re reviewing our options and there’s a good possibility that we might try to take it up to the Supreme Court.”