Judge Temporarily Blocks New York City Schools Vaccine Mandate

A federal appeals court has temporarily delayed New York City from implementing its vaccine mandate for public school employees.

The temporary restraining order was granted by a judge on the federal government’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday night.

The case will now go to a three-judge federal panel, which agreed Saturday to expedite the argument over the city’s vaccine mandate for public school teachers and staff.

A hearing is now set for Wednesday at 10 a.m., two days after the mandate was supposed to have taken effect. The temporary block remains in effect pending the outcome of the hearing.

The city had asked for a quick resolution.

“By casting a cloud over the Commissioner of Health’s order regarding vaccination of DOE workers, and the outcome of a labor arbitration conducted by plaintiffs’ labor representatives, the administrative injunction threatens the DOE’s safe resumption of full school operations for the city’s nearly one million students – hundreds of thousands of whom are not yet eligible to be vaccinated,” the city said in a letter to the court.

The education department also released a statement following the ruling:

“We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve. Our current vax-or-test mandate remains in effect and we’re seeking speedy resolution by the Circuit Court next week. Over 82% of DOE employees have been vaccinated and we continue to urge all employees to get their shot by September 27.”

Under the mandate, workers at New York City schools would have until Monday to get their COVID vaccinations before it goes into effect, prompting fears and warnings of a teacher shortage if not enough substitutes can be found.

In a memo to school officials Saturday morning, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter says unvaccinated school staff can continue to work next week under the existing testing requirements, “with the possibility that the vaccine mandate will go into effect later in the week.”

Right now, about 10,000 teachers remain unvaccinated, and schools are scrambling to replace them before the deadline.

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