NYC to Require Covid Vaccination for All Teachers and Staff
(Bloomberg) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City school teachers and staff must be vaccinated by late September, calling the mandate a crucial step to keep children safe and stymie the resurgent pandemic.
The requirement, announced at a briefing Monday morning with reporters, goes beyond a previous policy that let teachers and staff choose weekly testing if they didn’t get inoculated. The mandate will require employees to receive at least one dose by Sept. 27, two weeks into the school year.
De Blasio said the mandate will speed a vaccination drive that has already led to 75% of New York City’s adults receiving at least one shot.
Monday’s announcement came just as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, a milestone that could open the door to more vaccination requirements among employers and businesses.
“We’ve got to make sure our schools are safe,” de Blasio said. “We’ve got to make sure more people are getting vaccinated.”
De Blasio said he will discuss with labor unions how to implement the mandate and said there are no plans to impose a similar requirement on the full student body.
“Our kids have been through enormous challenges for the past year-and-a-half and they need to see adults doing the right thing for them,” de Blasio said.
Abouyt 63% of teachers and staff have been vaccinated already, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said at de Blasio’s briefing.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents nearly 200,000 city school employees, said the union is prepared to negotiate with the mayor.
“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,” he said in a statement. He said implementation detail and medical exceptions would have to be negotiated.
Late Monday, the Municipal Labor Committee, a federation of unions that represent about 350,000 city workers, said it would sue to force negotiations before a unilateral mandate -- even though many members support vaccinations.
De Blasio said he hopes talks will yield a timely agreement, but said the mandate will take effect on Sept. 27 no matter what.
“Everyone understands that we’re in a crisis and vaccination is the answer,” de Blasio said.
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