Supreme Court Allows New York School Vaccine Mandate to Move Ahead

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Mandate to return to work on Monday requires school workers to be vaccinated by Friday evening

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Justice Sotomayor did not immediately issue an order, but confirmed his refusal to reporters Friday afternoon. He rejected the petition without calling for a response or circulating the emergency application to the full court for consideration.

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Justice Sotomayor’s action came in response to a 12-page petition filed in the court on Thursday by teachers, who argued that the mandate violates teachers’ constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. The teachers’ lawyers argued that other city employees are allowed to opt out of the mandate if they submit weekly Covid-19 tests.

“We are disappointed, but the fight for our clients’ due process rights and the like will continue,” said Vinoo Varghese, an advocate for teachers.

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“Our vaccine requirement for NYC school staff has now been reviewed and upheld in state courts, federal courts, and the Supreme Court,” said Dave Chokshi, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Vaccination will keep students and staff safe.”

A federal appeals court late Monday overturned an action that blocked a vaccine mandate for New York City public-school workers, allowing the vaccine mandate to go ahead. The case represents the largest legal trial ever to see how similar requirements could play out across the country.

Under the terms of the mandate, all school staff must show proof that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Friday evening or will be placed on unpaid leave. But a worker who gets vaccinated this weekend and provides proof of vaccination status by Monday morning will be allowed to work as usual and placed back in active status, the DOE said on Friday. said in.

As of Friday afternoon, about 90% of DOE employees, 93% of teachers and 98% of principals had been vaccinated, according to DOE data. Roughly 500 employees have been given vaccination exemptions, which is about 0.03% of the entire workforce. The DOE plans to share full and final numbers regarding its vaccination data on Monday.

The agency said it has a system in place to support schools that may need additional help with staffing, including 9,000 vaccinated substitute teachers and 5,000 vaccinated substitute paraprofessionals. It is also giving financial incentives to all officiating teachers and officiating paraprofessionals on top of their regular salaries. It added that superintendents are working closely with schools to monitor their vaccination data.

Earlier in the week, teachers and unions reported that vaccination rates were lower in some cases than those in other important roles such as school security agents, school lunch aides and crossing guards.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects 100% of DOE employees to have at least one dose of the vaccine by Monday morning.

Lee Hawkins at [email protected]


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