New York City school teachers ask Supreme Court to block vaccine mandate

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A group of New York City public school teachers who refuse COVID-19 inoculation have asked the Supreme Court to block a vaccine mandate set to take effect Friday.

The teachers, who expressed various reasons for refusing to vaccinate, are united in their view that New York City’s public health measure runs afoul of the law. 

“Thousands of school teachers will lose their livelihoods if they are without pay and cannot work anywhere else, their ability to serve the children of New York City, and, of course, their ranking as teachers,” their lawyer Vinoo Varghese told The Hill. 

The teachers’ request was submitted to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handles emergency matters arising from New York, after their legal bid was rebuffed by lower federal courts over the past week.

The dispute arose after New York City officials in August announced that public school employees would be required to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in the interest of protecting the health of those who populate America’s largest school system.

The policy initially provided teachers the ability to opt-out of the vaccine requirement by agreeing instead to undergo weekly COVID-19 screenings. That option was later withdrawn for teachers, however, even as firefighters and police officers continue to be able to opt-out of receiving jabs.  

Part of the teachers’ legal complaint is that school employees are being treated differently than other city workers. 

“There is no rational and non-discriminatory basis for treating applicants differently than other municipal workers,” the teachers wrote in their Supreme Court filing. 

The New York-based challenge follows a recent legal fight over another mandatory school vaccine policy. 

In that case, a group of Indiana University students sought to block the school’s requirement that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before attending classes this fall. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who handles emergency matters from Indiana, denied their request without comment.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Coronavirus COVID-19 New York Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court vaccine mandates

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