A federal appeals court issued a temporary restraining order that stops New York City from enforcing its vaccine mandate on teachers on Friday, Sept. 24.
The injunction is in place while the case is directed to a three-judge panel to review, according to The New York Times.
The restraining order was granted after a Thursday ruling from federal judge Brian M. Cogan in Brooklyn that said the city’s vaccine mandate was “rational” to protect children during the testing time of a global pandemic. The decision led the teachers to the Court of Appeals.
The policy, introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month, is scheduled to be implemented as soon as next Monday, Sept. 27 at midnight. It requires all school staff from custodians, school lunch helpers to safety agents, and teachers to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine shots.
Most educators in the city have already accepted their compulsory jabs. Data from the NYC Department of Education (DOE) reported 81% of all Department of Education personnel and 87% of teachers have received at least one dose of the vaccines as of Thursday, CNN provided.
But there are still 10,000 individuals that remain unvaccinated. There are grave concerns over staff shortages in the education sector when the deadline rolls in, and the unvaccinated teachers are forced out of their job.
If workers do not get vaccinated as mandated by de Blasio, they have the choice of taking a year of unpaid leave or receiving a severance settlement. Either way, no vaccination means no job.
Educators, parents, and union officials anticipate school disruption when the city enforces its demand.
“Any staffing shortage, especially during a pandemic, is a threat to the health and safety of both students and personnel,” said president of Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) Mark Cannizzaro, CNN reported.
“It is dangerous and irresponsible for the city to move forward with its plan to allow schools and centers to operate so severely understaffed,” he continued.
Both the CSA and New York’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) were urging de Blasio to reschedule the vaccinate-or-leave deadline.
Responding to the non-permanent restraining order, city officials were positive the reviewing process would be conducted in just days, and the final decision would favor the city, according to The New York Times.
“We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” said Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education.
A similar legal challenge from a group of unions representing public school teachers was turned down last week by State Supreme Court judge Laurance Love.
Love said it had been a custom for state and federal courts to respect obligatory vaccines requirements.