New York City mandates Covid vaccine shots for public school teachers and staff following FDA approval
New York City is requiring all 148,000 public school faculty and staff to get their Covid-19 vaccine shots this fall, expanding on a mandate that already applies to city employees and health-care workers.Public school staff throughout New York City’s five boroughs must receive at least one Covid vaccine dose by Sept. 27, city officials said at a press briefing Monday morning. The mandate will not allow school personnel to submit negative Covid test results in place of getting vaccinated, the city’s Department of Education confirmed to CNBC.”Covid-19 vaccination among teachers and other staff, as well as all eligible students, is a critical strategy to get us back to school,” Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said at the briefing. “And today’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine adds to the crescendo of evidence that Covid-19 vaccines are both safe and effective.”New York City’s public school system is the largest in the country, with nearly 1.1 million students across almost 1,900 schools. The mandate encompasses all education workers, including teachers, principals, custodians, food service staff, and security guards.New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he planned to continue discussing the mandate with the city’s teachers unions. His comments came less than two weeks after Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told CNBC she supported a vaccine mandate for educators to protect against the surging delta variant.”What there is clearly a willingness to do by all parties is sit at the bargaining table and figure out what this means and what the ramifications are, work together to see if we can resolve the outstanding issues,” de Blasio said.The White House has said that approximately 90% of teachers nationwide are vaccinated against the coronavirus. City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said at the briefing that at least 63% of all Department of Education employees are vaccinated as well.De Blasio has also mandated vaccines for select activities citywide. Customers and employees of the city’s indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment centers must provide proof of having received at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 13.Other states, like California, have instituted softer mandates for school employees that require mandatory testing for teachers and staff who aren’t vaccinated. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a similar protocol Monday, requiring all personnel from kindergarten through 12th grade to be fully vaccinated for Covid or get tested at least once a week.