New York teachers ask for SCOTUS order to block COVID-19 vaccine mandate – NBC New York

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A group of New York City teachers asked the United States Supreme Court for an emergency order preventing the city’s vaccination mandate from coming into effect on Friday.

The petition calls on Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who is the circuit justice for this part of the country, to issue an emergency injunction blocking the warrant.

“In trying to fight the COVID-19 virus, New York City, the
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Mental Hygiene have created a decree that imposes an unconstitutional burden on teachers in public schools, ”the teachers’ lawyers wrote in their 12-page petition.

Earlier this week, federal judges ruled in favor of the city and dissolved a temporary bloc that kept the city’s vaccination mandate on ice.

The 2nd Manhattan U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals released its ruling on Monday night, in a shocking decision, dissolving last Friday’s injunction and dismissing the original motion.

After a negative ruling from a Brooklyn judge, a group of teachers took the case to the appeals court, which tasked the three-judge panel to hear the pleadings. But the appeal board issued its order after written arguments were submitted by both parties.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the vaccination mandate would go into effect on Monday, October 4 – meaning all school employees have until the end of Friday to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already.

The city’s DOE applauded the judges’ decision.

“Vaccinations are our most powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19 – this decision is on the right side of the law and will protect our students and staff,” DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson said.

But the city’s largest teachers’ union was not so quick to celebrate the new developments. In a statement, the United Teachers’ Federation said that while city estimates predicted 97 percent of teachers were vaccinated, a recent union survey showed that “only about a third (of UFT section leaders) believe that from now on, their schools can open without being given the potential shortage of unvaccinated staff.

“The city has a lot of work ahead of it to ensure that a sufficient number of vaccinated personnel will be available by the new deadline,” the statement from UFT President Michael Mulgrew read. “We will work with our members to ensure, where possible, that our schools can safely open while the immunization mandate is in effect.”

The previous blockage of the mandate prompted the mayor to re-implement the policy of weekly testing for staff who do not present proof of vaccination.

On Monday, de Blasio said 87% of all DOE staff were at least partially immunized, including 90% of teachers and 97% of principals. The UFT said 97% of its members are also at least partially vaccinated.

An attorney representing employees at the Department of Education says opponents of the mayor’s school mandate just want a weekly testing option enshrined in the rule for those who, for whatever reason, don’t want to be vaccinated against COVID.

“A lot of them are not anti-vaccination. They are anti-mandate,” lawyer Louis Gelormino said of the city’s education workers opposing de Blasio’s demand. “Think the real thing that united them all is that they are the only city workers in New York City who are required to get vaccinated and they are the only teachers in New York State. to be forced to get vaccinated. . “

Teachers’ lawyers argued in documents submitted to Circuit 2 on Monday that teachers who are put on unpaid leave because they did not comply with the order will suffer irreparable harm if the appeals court does not block not the warrant.

Lawyers wrote that the city’s ordinance “will leave teachers and paraprofessionals without the resources to pay rent, utilities and other essentials.” Evil is imminent.

They said the warrant would leave thousands of New York City children in the nation’s largest school district without their teachers and other school workers.

“There is imminent and irreparable harm,” the lawyers insisted.

Many healthcare workers still haven’t received the required first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine days before the state deadline, leaving the possibility that thousands of healthcare workers will be forced out of work Monday. NBC New York’s Ida Siegal reports.

Even though most school workers have been vaccinated, unions representing New York City principals and teachers have warned that the one-million-student school system could miss up to 10,000 teachers, as well. than other staff, if the mandate requires some to leave the classroom.

The mayor of Blasio had previously resisted calls to delay the implementation of the mandate, insisting the city was ready. He also said the city has an army of fully vaccinated surrogates ready to deploy if there are concerns about adequate staff in its schools. Following Monday’s last-minute decision, it was not immediately clear whether the city would still implement the mandate according to schedule.

“We have everything planned. We have a lot of replacements ready, ”the Democrat said in a radio interview last week.

In an email to staff over the weekend, New York Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter advised schools to prepare for the eventuality that the immunization mandate goes into effect this week, a focus that s ‘will later prove wise given the judges’ decision on Monday. The mayor also said he believed the warrant would prevail, citing a recent failure in efforts by a federal court to block Key to NYC, the city’s rule requiring patrons of restaurants, gyms, theaters and other venues to provide. proof of vaccination before entering companies, as fuel for his argument.

The requirement to receive at least one dose of the COVID vaccine was to come into effect on September 27, 2021.


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