Teachers and staff in New York City’s public schools were required to be vaccinated by COVID-19 Monday. This was a crucial test for the employee vaccine mandates being implemented across the country.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that 95% of the roughly 148,000 city school employees had received at least one dose of vaccines as of Monday morning. This included 96% of teachers, and 99% principals.
Since Aug. 23, de Blasio stated that 43,000 employees had received the shots.
The mayor stated that parents must be confident in the safety of their children. They entrust us to their children. This is the purpose of this mandate. Everyone in our schools has been vaccinated and this will continue to be the case.
Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary for Education, joined de Blasio’s virtual briefing to praise the vaccine mandate.
Cardona stated, “You’re doing this right.” “Students must be in the classroom. They must be safe. We need to ensure that all staff are vaccinated.
The mayor warned that school employees who are not vaccinated would be put on unpaid leave and wouldn’t be allowed to work this week. The city had plans to hire substitutes when needed.
Meisha Ross Porter, Schools Chancellor, said that she didn’t know how many employees had refused the shots or been placed on leave.
De Blasio will have to execute the mandate efficiently. He is a Democrat and boasted about the city’s track record of keeping schools open even during the most recent school year, when other districts switched to remote instruction. New York City does not offer remote instruction this year.
Although the vaccination mandate for the nation’s largest school systems does not allow for a test-out option it does allow medical and religious exemptions. The mandate was to take effect last week, but it was delayed by a federal appeals court who granted a temporary halt. A three-day appeals panel reversed the decision.
Mayor cited a 96% rate of teacher vaccinations, which was slightly lower than the 97% figure that Michael Mulgrew, head of United Federation of Teachers, had provided earlier Monday.
New York City’s public school system, which has more than a million students, is the first to require all staff members to be inoculated. Los Angeles will soon have a similar mandate starting Oct. 15.
Teachers and other school workers who were sued by New York’s school vaccination mandate sought an emergency injunction from the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. Friday’s request was denied.
Parents and students support the mandate to get vaccines in order to keep schools open during a pandemic.
Joyce Ramirez (28), who picked up her children from Bronx’s elementary school last week, stated that it was safer for them.
Ramirez stated that she hopes that the requirement will reduce the chance of teachers contracting the virus, thereby preventing school or classroom closures.
Cody Miller, a fifteen-year-old sophomore at a Manhattan high school, believes all teachers should be vaccinated. The teen said, “I think they should.” He was vaccinated as soon as the Pfizer shot became available for adults 12 and older. “It’s so many children, it’s big environment, you see?”
Mally Diroche was a Bronx parent with mixed feelings. The mother of three boys aged 3-12 years old said, “I feel like that’s something they should be able make on their own.” Diroche, 29 years old, said that she believes masks and other precautions are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus in schools.
Some educators are hesitant about the mandate, but they comply.
Maurice Jones (46), a Manhattan middle-school support staff member, stated that he was vaccinated several months ago and sympathizes for coworkers who are still waiting. Jones stated, “If they have to be tested more they’ve gotta get tested more.” Jones said, “I don’t believe they should lose their jobs.”
Roxanne Rizzi is a Queens elementary school technology teacher who waited until Friday before she received her first coronavirus vaccine.
She said, “I had to do this for the financial wellbeing of my family.”
Rizzi, 55 years old, had refused the vaccine after she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November. She believed that natural immunity would provide her protection. She stated that she would continue to protest against the mandate.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get vaccinated, even if they are already infected with the virus. According to the agency, COVID-19 vaccines provide better protection than natural immunity and prevent you from getting infected again.