New York has asked nearly all of the city’s public school workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, forcing thousands of education officials over the past week to be given at least one dose of the vaccine, prompting teachers to start. Preliminary data is released on Friday.
City officials said as of Friday at least 98% of principals and 93% of teachers and 90% of staff outside of education had been vaccinated. The numbers are likely to change on Monday, the deadline for meeting the requirements, as more workers are likely to receive vaccinations or vaccination certificates over the weekend.
According to the Ministry of Education, more than 18,000 shots have been fired at employees since September 24.
“The mandate works, it makes us safer,” de Blasio said in a television interview. “I would urge any mayor in America, do it now, get that flu shot when it gets tough. Do it now or you’ll regret it later.”
The union, which represents the city’s teachers and separately monitors vaccinations among its members, said about 95% of its members received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The New York term, which comes into effect when schools start on Monday, is the mayor’s first attempt to vaccinate all workers in the city with no option to be vaccinated. This could lay the groundwork for a broader need for a large number of workers in the city.
This requirement applies to the more than 150,000 people who work in the nation’s largest school system, including teachers, principals, mentors, school security officers, and lunchtime workers.
School staff who fail to provide evidence that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine are automatically granted unpaid leave Friday night. Anyone who takes photos on the weekends can show up at school on Monday and it will be counted back from their paycheck.
Teachers who do not submit vaccination certificates on Monday will be expelled from school and will be on sick leave for one year without pay. People vaccinated after Monday can return to school after receiving the first dose.
While the mandate appears to have prompted many staff to be vaccinated, the mayor’s decision to implement it will be put to the test this week as some schools grapple with potential staff shortages due to staffing levels.
In many schools, almost all staff are vaccinated and the mandate will have little or no impact. However, some schools are likely to employ a large number of substitute teachers. Others may have to offer pick-up-and-go options, from serving a hot lunch to staffing a cafe.
During a radio interview on Friday, de Blasio insisted that there was more than enough opportunity to cover the thousands of teachers and assistants expected to be on leave on Monday.
As of Friday afternoon, around 4,000 teachers had not been connected and about 30 school principals or deputy principals had not been shot. About 15,000 uneducated workers are not vaccinated. City officials said they were ready to fill the position by hiring other staff. About 500 employees are granted religious or medical exemptions,
The mayor’s spokesman, Daniel Filson, said about 9,000 substitute teachers and another 5,000 assistants had been vaccinated and could soon be placed in schools.