More than 10,000 New York City public school teachers and employees remained unvaccinated for COVID-19, according to figures released by the Big Apple’s Department of Education on Tuesday, though that number may have fallen over the course of the week.
The New York Post reported that in excess of 28,000 DOE staff, including 10,000 classroom teachers, were still not vaccinated just a few days before a Sept. 27 deadline mandated by the city. The department did say, though, that as of Tuesday, 87 percent of the school system’s 78,000 teachers have gotten at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.
That means as of earlier this week, about 10,100 employees and teachers, or about a half-dozen for each of NYC’s 1,600 schools, had not gotten a COVID jab, The Post added.
“Of all 130,000 DOE employees — a group that includes food service and custodial staff — only 78 percent were vaccinated as of Tuesday,” the paper added, noting further that anyone who does not get vaccinated by the deadline or receives an exemption won’t be able to work.
“Those who do not receive a medical or religious exemption and are still unvaccinated at the deadline can either take a year of unpaid leave or exit the DOE with a severance package,” The Post noted.
The department did not say how many teachers are seeking exemptions, but according to sources within the teachers’ union, there are not many exemption requests being granted, the paper said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter said this week they do not expect many issues staffing schools and classrooms due to the vaccine mandate.
“We are not seeing something that would have a profound impact on the teaching corps numbers for next Monday,” de Blasio told reporters last week.
At the time, Ross-Porter said that teachers still had a week to get their vaccines.
“We think we are moving in the right direction,” she said on Monday, adding that more teachers and school staff are getting the jab daily
“We hired 5,200 new teachers — larger than we’ve hired in past years. So we feel confident we’ll be staffed,” she continued at the same press conference.
In response to a lawsuit over the mandate filed by city municipal unions, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge temporarily blocked the mandate from taking effect, but he lifted the order during a hearing on Wednesday, ruling that “petitioners will be unable to establish a likelihood of ultimate success on the merits.”
In an editorial, The Post noted that thousands of NYC teachers hadn’t gotten their vaccines yet, speculating that it couldn’t be due to the bulk of them being supporters of former President Donald Trump, a New York City native.
“Thousands of health-care workers also failed to get their first doses, posing potential shortages. Surely these people can’t all be seeking religious or medical exemptions,” The Post’s editorial board wrote.
“By the way: Does anyone really think New York City teachers and health-care workers are ‘deplorable’ right-wingers and Trump supporters who, according to the left, make up most of the nation’s anti-vax holdouts? Ha!” the editorial added.
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