NEW YORK — A federal appeals court on Friday granted a temporary injunction blocking the city from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline Monday for all city public school teachers and staff.
According to the court document, Judge Joseph F. Bianco states the injunction will be in place only until a three-judge panel reviews the appeal from a Brooklyn federal judge's ruling this week that upheld the mandate.
In a statement regarding that judge's ruling, the Department of Education said in part, "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."
The mandate bars from their job DOE workers who have not at least had their first vaccine dose by Monday.
Officials say they have a reserve pool of 11,000 substitute teachers as well as former teachers working in other areas in the department that could be tapped if needed.
But principal and teachers union heads expressed their concerns.
"Monday night at midnight, a school finds out that it's missing X number of staff and the school cannot get enough people in the following day, then the school is put into a horrendous situation where, alright, I'm gonna put five classrooms in the auditorium," United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said.
The City Law Department sent out a statement saying, "Yet again, another court has cleared the way for a vaccine mandate at the DOE which is in the best interest of children and department employees. The court has again recognized the authority of the Health Department to implement a mandate that is firmly grounded in science and the expertise of public health officials from across the nation."
Right now, about 10,000 teachers remain unvaccinated.