New York City public school principals, teachers and staff can now upload proof of vaccination into a new Department of Education portal in order to verify their vaccine status and avoid weekly COVID testing once classes start on Sept. 13.
The portal’s launch, first reported by Politico, comes just over a month before public school students return to classrooms and roughly a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced teachers will need either be vaccinated to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing once school begins.
“Vaccines are our passport out of this pandemic and this brand new tool is a one-stop-shop that streamlines submitting, collecting and verifying vaccination status for every single DOE school and employee,” said DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon. “ We encourage everyone getting ready for September 13th to upload their vaccination proof and do their part to keep our school communities safe and healthy.”
Uploads will be accepted on a rolling basis with teachers able to use vaccination cards, New York State Excelsior Passes or another government record. Instructors that are not fully vaccinated or those who do not show proof of vaccination by Sept. 13 will need to be tested weekly for the virus. Once an instructor is fully vaccinated and uploads a copy of a vaccination card or other accepted form of vaccine verification, will no longer need to be tested, according to a DOE spokesperson.
The mayor has pushed vaccination as the key to safely and fully reopening public schools this fall and ordered teachers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID as part of a broader effort to boost vaccination rates among government workers. In July, de Blasio reported that about 60% of the DOE’s workforce had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The portal, DOE officials hope, will verify the vaccination status of 140,000 school staff.