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Judges Uphold NYC Teacher Vaccine Mandate, Reversing Temporary Hold

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A panel of federal appeals judges upheld the vaccine mandate for New York City educators in a Monday evening ruling, The New York Times reported.

The ruling reverses a temporary hold on the mandate put in place late Friday and will uphold the requirement that 150,000 teachers, custodians, aides and cafeteria workers get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the deadline, the New York Times reported. Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the deadline to go into effect on Oct. 4.

The vaccine requirement was speculated to cause staff shortages, despite estimates from the city and teachers unions that about 97% of principals and 90% of teachers in the school district are vaccinated, the New York Times reported.

Unions representing New York City’s educators urged de Blasio to hold off on instituting the vaccine mandate over concerns it would cause an immediate staff shortage with 10,000 educators still unvaccinated, the New York Times reported. Around 8,000 employees within New York’s Department of Education received a vaccine dose over the weekend ahead of the deadline.

“The city’s estimate is that 97% of the teachers have been vaccinated, but according to our recent survey of UFT chapter leaders, only about one-third believe that as of now their schools can open without disruption, given the potential shortage of unvaccinated personnel, including school aides and security personnel,” Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers said in a statement Monday.

“The city has a lot of work before it to ensure that enough vaccinated staff will be available by the new deadline,” he added.

The New York City Department of Education said the appeals court’s ruling was “on the right side of the law,” which will protect students and staff, the New York Times reported.

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