United States: Justice orders COVID-19 vaccine for teachers and public school workers in New York | Community

A protest against the compulsory vaccination of teachers or health workers, on Monday in New York.Justin Lin / Effie

Monday, September 27, was an important day in New York State and its fight against the coronavirus. The deadline for teachers in the public system – the most comprehensive in the country – to provide proof of vaccination with at least one dose, under the mandate issued last month by the city’s Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio. But the medical or religious reluctance of some of the teachers, along with the vigorous action of the unions that represented them, delayed and complicated the process.

In a presumably final ruling, a three-judge court ruled today that the mandate mandating vaccination must be applied to be able to operate in public centers in New York City, which has been blocked by an appeals court since last Friday. That is, the compulsory vaccination of more than 150,000 public school employees will go ahead as planned, or the rebels will face cuts in their salaries. The three judges’ ruling comes a few days earlier than expected, ending a court series that – at the request of teacher unions – has already registered two deferrals by both state and federal courts in recent weeks.

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Municipal authorization is the strictest prescription yet directed at a professional group, and its sanction by the latter court could open the door to a much broader mandate for all local or state administration employees in the coming weeks. Last Monday, de Blasio noted that about 97% of center directors and 95% of teachers have received the vaccination, while the rate of vaccinations with at least one dose among school workers reaches 87%. About 8,000 employees of the city’s Department of Education were vaccinated this weekend before the ultimatum approached. De Blasio is for adults who work in centers only, as students are not required to have a vaccination to attend class, unlike cities like Los Angeles, which do.

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The unions have urged Mayor de Blasio to extend the vaccination period, arguing that centers will not be able to deal with the expected shortage of teachers and staff that could result from the strict application of the mandate. There is a risk that the state, on another level of management, is facing up to New York’s hospital network. The governor, Katie Hochhol, expected this weekend to turn to the National Guard – a body of volunteer reserve soldiers – to mitigate the absence of all health workers who haven’t been vaccinated past today’s deadline. Democrat Hochul has also expressed its intention to call in unemployed, retired or other health workers to replace tens of thousands of workers who are likely to lose their jobs for not submitting vaccination proof on time. In a statement issued by her office, the governor raised the possibility of declaring a state of emergency to address the shortage of cadres and the emergency measures referred to to treat it.

On Monday, the mayor of New York indicated that he does not fear the prospect of massive absenteeism in the city, where vaccination rates are high, but in smaller towns in the state, it lags behind in immunization. process and forced to cut services or even postpone scheduled operations due to staff shortages. Meanwhile, hospitals are preparing to fire tens of thousands of staff who do not comply, due to medical reasons (such as allergies) or religious objections, with the mandate. This is the case, among other things, of the New York University Hospital Network, which has warned its workers that those who resist the vaccine will be “immediately suspended and awaiting dismissal.” The vaccination authorization for health workers was issued last month by the Ministry of Health.

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Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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