[guest post by Dana]
Tightening up protocol, or as one official called it, “another layer of protection for our kids”:
All New York City public school teachers and other staffers will have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, officials said Monday, ramping up pandemic protections as the nation’s largest school system prepares for classes to start next month.
The city previously said teachers, like other city employees, would have to get the shots or get tested weekly for the virus. The new policy marks the first no-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers in the nation’s most populous city, though Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that coaches and students in football, basketball and other “high-risk” sports would have to get inoculated before play begins.
Now, about 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools — will have to get at least a first dose by Sept. 27, according to an announcement from the Democratic mayor and the city health and education departments.
I suspect this is an unpopular opinion here with a number of commenters, but if I were a parent with a kid in NYC schools, I would very much appreciate the extra layer of protection. In general, the more vaccinated adults the better!
Meanwhile, Michael Mulgrew, president of NYC’s United Federation of Teachers union, responded to the mandate as one would expect:
Our first priority is keeping our kids safe and the schools open. The city’s teachers have led the way on this issue, with the great majority already vaccinated.
While the city is asserting its legal authority to establish this mandate, there are many implementation details, incl[uding] provisions for medical exceptions, that by law must be negotiated with the UFT and other unions, and if necessary, resolved by arbitration.
De Blasio said the city would indeed negotiate with the unions but that, no matter the outcome of those negotiations, the first-dose deadline will remain in place:
De Blasio said the city would start bargaining this week with the unions over specifics, and officials hope for agreements. But the mayor said the city intends to implement the requirement Sept. 27, with or without a deal.