A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees in the public school system in New York has taken effect as of Monday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said 95 percent of the city’s 148,000 public school employees had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday morning. He said 96 percent of teachers and 99 percent of principals were partially vaccinated.
“Our parents need to know their kids will be safe,” the mayor said. “They entrust us with their children. That’s what this mandate is all about. Every adult in our schools is now vaccinated, and that’s going to be the rule going forward.”
The mayor had announced that school employees who were not vaccinated would be placed on unpaid leave, and substitute teachers would be brought in where needed.
It was unclear as of Monday just how many employees had declined the vaccine and had been placed on leave, said Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said she approved of the mandate.
“You’re doing it right,” Cardona said. “Students need to be in the classroom. They need to be safe and we need to make sure we’re doing everything possible to let our staff get vaccinated and make sure that our schools are as safe as possible.”
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from a group of teachers and other New York City school employees for an emergency injunction to block the mandate.
The vaccine mandate in New York City for public schools is one of the first in the country. A similar mandate is expected to go into effect in Los Angeles on Oct. 15.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should get vaccinated even if they have already had COVID-19. The agency says COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity and help prevent against re-infection.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.