NYC Prepares to Replace Teachers who Refuse to get Vaccinated with Substitutes who Have Gotten their Shots

NYC Prepares to Replace Teachers who Refuse to get Vaccinated with Substitutes who Have Gotten their Shots

     New York City principals have been instructed by the Department of Education (DOE) to prepare a list of staffers who have refused vaccination, so that DOE staffers can stand guard tomorrow morning at their buildings: prepared to refuse entry to any of their colleagues who tries to come to work unvaccinated.

     “If they don’t have a vaccination card, they can’t come in the building,” said a Brooklyn principal, who added that any resistance on the part of exiled education staffers should be met firmly.

      Tomorrow, Oct. 4, is the date by which Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that New York must be vaccinated, or they may not come into their schools to teach, and some 15,000 Department of Education employees, including about 5,500 teachers, had still refused to get their shots by last Friday. 

     Teachers and other public school staff have until the end of the day to get their shots.

     As soon as workers get vaccinated, they can come to work and be “put back on active status,” said the DOE, which insists that it has 9,000 vaccinated substitute teachers and “qualified staffers,” who are ready to come to work Monday morning to fill the vacancies left by the vaccine-refusers, although many DOE staffers do not believe the city’s claim and fear a chaotic, understaffed scene tomorrow morning at public schools. 

      “There are still too many school leaders that have been unable to find qualified substitutes for Monday,” said Mark Cannizzaro, president of the principals’ union, who worries about a shortage of DOE staff: especially of safety agents and other non-teachers.

     A small group of DOE staffers remain defiant that they do not have a moral responsibility to get vaccinated before working in close contact with children and adults. 

     “I’m not resigning,” unvaccinated New York City teacher Michael Kane, who is a leader of the Teachers for Choice coalition, told the New York Post.

     Kane added that he plans to show up tomorrow at his Queens school and also participate in a protest on Monday in which the group will march from the DOE offices in Brooklyn to City Hall.

     In response to the vaccination mandate for teachers, Kane had previously put in a request for a religious exemption, which was denied, and he has appealed.

     In addition, Kane and others have sued the city saying their religious beliefs do not allow them to get vaccinated, and they expect to seek a restraining order Monday in federal court.

     On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected four teachers who sought an emergency injunction that would keep the mandate from going into effect

.photo credit: Tomash Devenishek/Flickr (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

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