New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Biden's winter COVID-19 strategy Five omicron cases detected in New York Third US omicron case detected in Colorado MORE (D) announced during a press conference Monday that 95 percent of staff from the city’s Department of Education are vaccinated against the coronavirus as an employee mandate takes effect.
The mayor touted the public school employee vaccination rate, which reached 96 percent among teachers and 99 percent among principals, saying it shows that mandates work.
“Look, here’s my message to all of the mayors of America, here’s my message to all of the governors of America: Put these mandates in place. Put these incentives in place,” he said. “They work. Do it now. Save lives and ultimately save this country from a longer crisis that could hold us down for months or even years.”
Since New York announced the mandate on Aug. 23, public school employees have received 43,000 doses, and the city as a whole will soon surpass 11.5 million doses, de Blasio said. New York saw 1.7 million doses administered since late July, with the daily vaccination rate jumping by 45 percent.
Under the mandate, teachers and staff do not have the choice to opt-out of the vaccine by getting weekly COVID-19 tests, unless they have an approved exemption. Beginning Monday, unvaccinated school employees without an exemption will be taken off the payroll.
These approximately 8,000 unvaccinated employees are on unpaid leave and “will be welcomed back in our system should they comply with the mandate,” Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said.
But as of Monday, all the staffers working at the city's more than 1,600 public schools are fully vaccinated.
“It means there is an actual bubble of safety around our children in their school buildings beginning today and every day going forward,” Porter said. “With 100 percent of adults in buildings vaccinated, New York City schools are the safest places to be. Our incredible vaccination mandate made this possible.”
A group of New York teachers took a legal challenge against the mandate to the Supreme Court, which on Friday rejected their call to block it.