Some NYC schools poised to lose hundreds of teachers when vax mandate starts

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

New York City has put a mandate in place for all teachers in the Big Apple’s schools to be vaccinated by midnight on Monday, September 27. That’s in two days. On Tuesday morning, unvaccinated teachers will not be allowed on the job. The schools in the city have done an impressive job of getting teachers to roll up their sleeves, with an estimated vaccination rate of between 87 and 94 percent, depending who you ask. But even with vaccination rates that high, that still leaves thousands of teachers who will be getting the boot on Tuesday. Some of the larger schools will lose more than 100 teachers if they don’t manage to convince them to go out and get a shot before the deadline. And that situation will leave a lot of kids without an instructor for some classes when they show up. So the teachers’ unions are pushing back and asking for the deadline to be extended. (NY Post)

Some city schools could lose up to 100 teachers and staffers next week due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, union officials revealed Friday.

United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators president Mark Cannizzaro held a joint press conference to warn of staffing shortfalls and the city’s lack of preparedness.

The Department of Education has said 13 percent of city educators remain unvaccinated and face removal from payroll Tuesday while Mulgrew put the number at 5 or 10 percent.

But even at the lower figures, he cautioned that thousands of teachers will become ineligible to work after Monday’s midnight vaccination deadline.

Earlier in the pandemic, you may recall that the American Federation of Teachers was fighting tooth and claw to keep the schools closed. They had one demand after another, all intended to defy state and municipal orders to reopen the schools for in-person learning. One of those demands was for all of the teachers to be vaccinated before they would return to work. Many cities, including New York, immediately obliged by moving teachers up into the top category for vaccine prioritization.

But as it turns out, not all teachers were on the same page. Some of them wound up being among the vaccine-hesitant while others flatly refused. The Post has photos of teachers showing up at protests against vaccine mandates. I somehow doubt that all of those people will be rushing out to get a shot before Tuesday.

So what happens to the teachers who still aren’t vaccinated on Tuesday morning? According to the Department of Education, they will have the option of either going on unpaid leave (while keeping their medical benefits) or being terminated with severance pay. Good luck with that. The unions will be up in arms and threatening a strike the moment the first teacher is let go or has their pay suspended. Remember… these are teachers’ unions, not students’ unions. It’s never about the students.

So far I haven’t been seeing this standoff showing up on the national cable news networks or even the local outlets in New York. I do have to wonder how the media will play this, though. Remember that the teachers’ unions are sacred cows because of their status with the Democratic Party. They also tend to be overwhelmingly liberal, particularly in New York City. The press has a field day excoriating white southern conservative Trump supporters if they protest vaccine mandates. They are “unscientific” and “placing the vaccinated in danger.” How will they treat these teachers who are in a favored class? Won’t they be putting children in danger of losing their educational opportunities? Think of the children! Stay tuned.

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David Strom 6:40 PM | February 29, 2024