First grade students at a public school in New York’s Bronx borough, Monday, September 13, 2021.
Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Schools in New York City have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for their teachers and other employees by a federal appeals judge just days before it was set to take effect.
The workers’ mandate for the country’s largest school system was set to go into effect on Monday. But late Friday, a judge from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction and urgently referred the case to a panel of three judges.
Education Department spokesman Danielle Filson said officials want a quick resolution through the courts next week.
“We are confident that our vaccine mandate will be upheld once all the facts are presented because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” Filson said in an email.
She said more than 82% of the department’s employees have been vaccinated.
Although most school employees have been vaccinated, unions representing New York City principals and teachers warned that the school system with 1 million students still could not have as many as 10,000 teachers, along with other staffers, such as cafeteria workers and school police officers.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has resisted calls to delay the mandate.