New York City schools anticipate a significant loss of educators once the COVID-19 vaccine mandate goes into effect early next week. Schools are preparing for staff shortages, and it is estimated that 100s of teachers and staff will be unable to work.
As of Monday, all New York City public school workers will be required to show proof of receiving at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. If unable to prove vaccine status, they will be placed on unpaid leave beginning Tuesday.
The Department of Education estimates that around 13 percent of educators remain unvaccinated.
“The truth is, at this point, principals and superintendents have been reaching out consistently to tell us they are concerned about not having enough staff come Tuesday morning,” Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Mark Cannizzaro said at a press conference.
Cannizzaro and United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew ask for the vaccine deadline to be pushed back, citing an unstable labor market. Mulgrew criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for not dealing with the issue over the summer.
De Blasio believes that the DOE will not have any issue staffing schools after the deadline. He says there are more than enough vaccinated substitute teachers ready to step in.
“Any situation where additional staffing is needed, we have staff that can be deployed very quickly to wherever they’re needed in the city,” the mayor said Thursday. “The message for parents is that you’re going to have buildings with only vaccinated adults in them.”
The mayor feels vaccines are the key to limiting COVID-19 outbreaks in schools. He argues this is the best course to keep schools open amid the pandemic.
DOE staff that remain unvaccinated past Tuesday’s deadline will have the option of taking unpaid leave with health insurance or receive severance pay and no longer work for the DOE.