NYC Teachers Petition US Supreme Court to Block Vaccine Mandate
A small group of New York City teachers have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an emergency order that would block the city's vaccine mandate that is scheduled to go into effect on Monday, Oct. 4, which requires all public school employees, if they have not done so already, to get their shots by the end of day on Friday: or be put on unpaid leave.
Although 87% of the city’s Department of Education (DOE) employees are vaccinated: including 90% of teachers and 97% of principals, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday, a small group of New York City teachers claim that the city’s COVID vaccine mandate “places an unconstitutional burden on them," lawyers for the teachers wrote in their 12-page petition.
The teachers' lawyers also argued Monday that teachers who are placed on unpaid leave because they have not gotten their shots will be “irreparably harmed” if the appeals court failed to block the mandate.
The city's order will “leave teachers and paraprofessionals without the resources to pay rent, utilities, and other essentials,” lawyers for the anti-vaccine mandate teachers wrote.
“The harm is imminent,” wrote the teachers’ lawyers, who did not address the harm that can be done to children and colleagues by a virus that has killed 696,000 people in the United States alone.
But the city’s DOE has been cheering since federal judges earlier this week ruled in favor of New York City’s vaccine mandate.
The United Federation of Teachers (the UFT), the city's largest teachers union, however, claims that the New York City public school system could be short as many as 10,000 teachers, along with other employees, if the mandate forces some DOE employees to take time off without pay.
In addition, a recent union survey showed "only about one-third (of UFT chapter leaders) believe that as of now their schools can open without disruption, given the potential shortage of unvaccinated personnel,” the UFT said, in a statement.
Mayor de Blasio, who has been resisting calls to delay the implementation of the vaccination mandate, is not ruffled by the threats of the teachers’ unions.
The mayor said he has an army of fully vaccinated substitutes who are ready to teach if schools find that they are not adequately staffed in the wake of the mandate.
“We’ve been planning all along,’ the mayor said in a radio interview last week. “We have a lot of substitutes ready.”
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