Choice for NYC teachers: Be fully vaccinated or face a weekly COVID test

'The Delta variant has thrown us a curveball,' Mayor Bill de Blasio said
By: | July 26, 2021

All New York City teachers must be fully vaccinated against COVID by Sept. 13, the first day of school, or submit to weekly testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered Monday.

The mandate also applies to all other city employees, including firefighters and police officers, the mayor said at a press conference.

“We all know the Delta variant has thrown us a curveball,” de Blasio said. “This is about making sure our families get through COVID okay, this is about bringing back jobs.”

As for students, at least 226,000 12 to 17-year-olds in New York City have gotten at least one dose, he said.

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Last week, de Blaiso ordered that all of the city’s frontline health care workers get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.

“This is the reason life is as good as it is in New York City right now, because we’re above the national average vaccinations, but we need to do more,” de Blasio said. “If a city government employee does not wear a mask indoors and they are unvaccinated there, unfortunately, will have to be consequences.”

On Aug. 2, the city will roll out the NYC COVID SAFE app that city employees can use to show proof of either vaccination or a negative COVID test.

He also urged private sector employers to “go as far as you can go right now” on vaccine mandates and other COVID precautions.

“I would strongly urge a vaccination mandate whenever possible, or as close to it as possible, at a minimum requiring all your employees to get vaccinated or to do weekly testing,” he said.

Across the country, however, it’s now illegal in 8 states for schools to force COVID vaccinations.

An Ohio law approved earlier this month bars public schools from mandating vaccines not fully authorized by the FDA. Schools also cannot prevent unvaccinated individuals from participating in school activities. In June, a bill prohibiting schools from requiring vaccines, vaccine passports or masks became law in Oklahoma.

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Tennessee and Utah have passed similar laws over the last several months.

Elsewhere, California on Monday issued a vaccine mandate for all state employees that will go into effect in August, according to The Associated Press.

“An individual’s choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said, according to the AP.

And the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has required 115,000 of its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated within the next two months, The New York Times reported Monday.

“I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, told The Times. 

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