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NYC public schools implementing vax/test policy after judge temporarily halts full vaccine mandate

A child wears a face mask on the first day of New York City schools, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Two weeks into the new school year, New York City public schools are reverting to the city’s old policy requiring workers to either get vaccinated or to undergo COVID-19 testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday – days after a judge temporarily stopped his full vaccine mandate for DOE employees. 

“We expect as early as the end of this week that we will be able to go to the full vaccine mandate,” said de Blasio, who attributed the full mandate for pushing 7,000 DOE employees to get vaccinated last Friday and Saturday. 

As a result of the spike in vaccination among DOE workers, de Blasio said, almost all of New York City public school staff have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19. 

Roughly 87% of all DOE staff, 90% of teachers, and 97% of public school principals have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, according to de Blasio, while leadership from New York City´s teacher’s union, the United Federation of Teachers, claims vaccination among their members is closer to 97%. 

Throughout the summer, de Blasio took steps to encourage public school students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 but did not order a full vaccine mandate until just weeks before the start of the school year. 

Under the mandate, all DOE employees, including roughly 78,000 teachers, were required to get at least one dose of the vaccine by Monday, Sept. 27.

“We are continuing every single day to tell people to come get vaccinated,” said de Blasio. “But look at these numbers already. For everyone, especially parents and kids, this should be a real sense of relief to the numbers are already so high.”

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