The Covid vaccine order is effective for NYC teachers, staff

Teachers in New York City and members of other school staff are scheduled to be vaccinated against Covid-1 when the bell rings Monday morning, one of the first school district mandates in the country where staff are required to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday issued a final warning to a total of 1,14,000 public school workers in the city, saying vaccinated workers would be put on unpaid leave and would not be allowed to work this week. The city planned to bring alternatives where needed.

Implementing the order smoothly could be a challenge for De Blasio, a Democrat who took pride in the city’s ability to keep school buildings open for most of the last school year while other districts went to remote areas. New York City is not offering a remote option this year.

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Teachers protest New York’s Kovid-1 vaccine order on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. (AP Photo / Mary Altaf, file)

De Blasio said that as of Friday, 90% of education department staff had received at least one vaccine dose, of which 93% were teachers and %% principals.

In the largest school system in the country, the immunization order does not have the option of examination but allows medical and religious exemptions. It was supposed to take effect last week but was delayed when a federal appeals court granted a temporary injunction. An appeals panel reversed that decision three days later.

A similar order is set to take effect on October 15 in Los Angeles.

Mark Canizaro, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, said that despite the vaccination last week, some principals were not finding enough staff to replace the obsolete staff.

“While we are grateful that the percentage of vaccinated staff has increased systemically since the deadline was extended, there are still many school leaders who are not finding worthy alternatives for Monday,” Canizaro said.

A spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers said the city would have to work hard to make sure there were enough vaccinated staff to open schools safely on Monday morning.

Teachers and other school staff who filed lawsuits against the school vaccine mandate issued an emergency order to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, blocking its implementation. That request was denied on Friday.

Many students and parents support the order of vaccines as the best way to keep schools open during an epidemic.

Students are welcomed by faculty as they arrive at PS811, New York, Monday, September 13, 2021.  (AP Photo / Richard Drew, file)

Students are welcomed by faculty as they arrive at PS811, New York, Monday, September 13, 2021. (AP Photo / Richard Drew, file)

“It’s safe for our kids,” said Joyce Ramirez, 28, who picked up her three children from Bronx Elementary School last week.

Ramirez said he hopes the requirement will reduce teachers’ chances of being infected with the virus and encourage them to close classrooms or schools.

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Cody Miller, a 15-year-old sophomore from a high school in Manhattan, said teachers should all be vaccinated. “I think they should,” said the teenager, who vaccinated himself as soon as Pfizer shots were approved for people 12 and older. “It’s a lot of kids, it’s a big environment, you know?”

But another guardian of the Bronx, Mali Deroch, had mixed feelings. The mother of three, aged 3 to 12, said, “I think it’s a decision they have to make on their own.” Deroche, 29, said he thinks masks and other precautions could test for the spread of the virus in schools.

Some academics have reservations about the mandate but are complying.

Maurice Jones, 46, a support staff member at a secondary school in Manhattan, said he was vaccinated a few months ago but he sympathized with colleagues who did not receive the shot. “If they’re tested more, they should be tested more,” Jones said. “I don’t think they’ll lose their jobs.”

Roxanne Riji, who teaches technology at an elementary school in Queens, waited until Friday to get her first coronavirus vaccine shot.

“I had to do it for my family’s money,” he said.

Rizi, 55, resisted the vaccine because he contracted the Covid-1 contract in November and believed that natural immunity would protect him. He said he would continue to protest the order.

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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should be vaccinated even if they are already infected with the virus. The Covid-1 vaccine provides better protection against natural immunity and helps prevent re-infection, the agency said.

Collaborative press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed

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