The emergency injunction was filed Thursday, a day before Education Department employees at least received their first COVID-19 vaccine to continue working.
“Although a temporary interruption of work does not give rise to an action, the mandate here would have a permanent effect: it is for an indefinite period, where if a teacher never gets vaccinated, he will never be able to return to work”, said the complainants. in their petition.
The petitioners say an immediate injunction is needed, arguing that “the court will lose the opportunity to provide meaningful relief” to public school employees if it does not issue an injunction by the 5pm Friday deadline for that DOE personnel get their first shot.
The mandate, which was originally due to go into effect last Monday, requires all teachers and staff to receive at least one dose of the vaccine. Unlike other municipal employees, DOE employees cannot test. Opponents continued with the mandate, claiming it was unconstitutional.
The petitioners argued Thursday that the warrant endangers the education of students and would result in the loss of their jobs by thousands of unvaccinated public school workers.
“This obvious and immediate harm is a violation of substantive due process and equal protection rights,” the plaintiffs said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the layoffs would not be immediate, but urged DOE staff to get vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs.
The education ministry said about 81% of employees in the city’s education department were vaccinated, including 87% of teachers, as of Thursday. This means that 19% of DOE employees and 13% of teachers will not be able to enter school buildings next Monday unless they have their first injection by 5 p.m. Friday.
Officials say they have a pool of 11,000 substitute teachers, as well as former teachers working in other areas of the department, who could be tapped if there is a staff shortage linked to the entry into force of the department. mandate. Currently, around 10,000 teachers remain unvaccinated.
“The plaintiffs have no valid claim and have provided no basis for the court’s intervention,” Katie O’Hanlon, spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education, said in a statement. “The courts have spoken. The Ministry of Health has the power to implement a mandate firmly rooted in the science and expertise of public health officials across the country. “
The warrant has been back and forth in court in recent weeks, including earlier this week, when a federal appeals committee ruled on Monday that the city could go ahead with the requirement.
This story includes reporting from Jillian Jorgensen.
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