Aug. 23, 2021 By Christian Murray
All New York City public school employees will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in accordance with a new mandate announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday morning.
The policy will affect all 148,000 Dept. of Education employees, including school principals, teachers and custodians. It will also apply to school safety officers and food providers.
Under the mandate, all staff will be required to show proof that they have had a least one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27.
The announcement comes as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes more prevalent and just weeks before approximately 1 million New York City public school students return to class.
The mayor is adamant that there will be no remote learning in the upcoming year that starts Sept. 13.
“We know this is going to help ensure that everyone is safe,” de Blasio said during a news conference Monday. “We want our schools to be extraordinarily safe all year long.”
To date, about 63 percent of Dept. of Education employees have had at least one dose of the vaccine, according to city officials.
The policy follows the mayor’s announcement on Friday that public school athletes involved in high-risk sports like basketball and football must be vaccinated by the start of their season.
“Our schools must be safe spaces for our students,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter, who spoke during the press conference Monday. The vaccine mandate, she added, provides “another layer of protection for our kids.”
The city has yet to disclose what the penalty will be for employees who don’t comply, or whether there will be exemptions.
The announcement comes on the same day that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.