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covid vaccine

New York City says all teachers and other school employees must get the Covid vaccine

Aug. 23, 2021
The nation's largest school system has announced that all 148,000 school employees must get vaccinated.

All teachers and other staffers in New York City public schools--the nation's largest school system--will have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, officials say.

The Associated Press reports that about 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools — will have to get at least a first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27, according to an announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city health and education departments.

The city previously said teachers, like other city employees, would have to get the shots or get tested weekly for the virus.

The city hasn’t immediately said what the penalty will be for refusing, or whether there will be exemptions. The previous vaccinate-or-test requirement had provisions for unpaid suspensions for workers who didn’t comply.

[News release: de Blasio announces vaccine requirement for teachers.]

De Blasio said the city would start bargaining this week with the unions over specifics of the requirements, and officials hope for agreements. But the mayor said the city intends to implement the requirement Sept. 27, with or without a deal.

At least 63% of all school employees already have been vaccinated. That figure doesn’t include those who may have gotten their shots outside the city.

The new requirement came as federal regulators gave full approval to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, one of three vaccines available in the U.S. All already have authorization for emergency use, but officials hope the full approval will increase public confidence in the vaccines.

School starts Sept. 13 for the city’s roughly 1 million public school students, with no remote-learning option planned.

Vaccine mandates for teachers are fairly rare so far in the United States, though Washington state, for one, says teachers must be inoculated or face dismissal. Vaccinate-or-test requirements are somewhat more common,

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Americans say students and teachers should be required to wear face masks while in school, and that teachers and eligible students should also be required to get vaccinated.

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