NYC instructs public school teachers, staff to vaccinate – Times of India

NEW YORK: Teachers and other staff at all public schools in New York City must be vaccinated against the coronavirus, officials said Monday, as the country’s largest school system prepares to begin classes next month.

The city has previously said that teachers, like other city employees, need to get shots or do weekly tests for viruses. The new policy marks the first flat-out vaccination mandate for city workers in the country’s most populous city.

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Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Department of Health and Education said in a statement that about 18,000 school staff – and contractors who work at the school – must receive the first dose by at least September 2. The city did not immediately say what the penalty would be for the denial, or whether there would be a waiver. There was provision for unpaid suspension for workers who did not comply with previous vaccine-or-test requirements.

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At least 63% of school staff have already been vaccinated. These figures do not include those who may have received their shots outside the city.

The school starts Sept. 13 for about 1 million public school students in the city.

It is not immediately clear how unions representing teachers and other school staff will respond. The city education department says the matter is being discussed with them.

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New York and some other cities and states have been battling highly contagious Delta variants of the virus to increase pressure to vaccinate more people.

New York City last week began requiring proof of vaccination for entry into restaurant dining rooms, gyms and many other public places, the first country-policy that has been copied in several other cities since it was announced. Meanwhile, New York State announced last week that hospital and nursing home workers must be vaccinated.

Vaccine mandates for teachers are fairly rare in the United States so far, although the state of Washington, according to one, will have to vaccinate teachers or face dismissal. Vaccine-or-test requirements are a little more common.

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A new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 6 out of 10 Americans say students and teachers need to wear masks while in school and that teachers and eligible students also need to be vaccinated. But there are sharp differences between Democrats and Republicans on these issues, the survey found.

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