Court sets New York City school vaccination mandate hearing for Wednesday

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NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (Reuters) – A requirement for teachers and staff at New York schools to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was temporarily blocked by a U.S. appeals court just days before it went into effect , but the court set a deadline for hearing on the matter for next week on Saturday.

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio set Monday as the deadline for 148,000 staff in America’s largest school system to receive at least one dose of a vaccine as part of a mandate to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

But the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit blocked the deadline Friday night by granting a temporary injunction to a small group of public school teachers and paraprofessionals who are challenging the mandate, which does not allow weekly testing. as an alternative.

The court scheduled a hearing on the litigation for Wednesday on Saturday, following a request from the city for an expedited hearing.

Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington state have also introduced immunization warrants for teachers and school staff as American educators and parents grapple with how to keep schools safe and open as the country struggles with it. the latest wave of coronavirus.

A stroller sits at the entrance to Public Elementary School 85, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, decorated with balloons welcoming students, in the Queens neighborhood of New York, United States, September 13, 2021. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton

In a letter to the court, the city’s legal department said the basis for an injunction was unfounded, adding that the uncertainty it creates threatens the “safe resumption of full school operations for nearly one. million city students “.

“The ordinance also upsets the trusting interests of parents and caregivers across the city – who need clear and robust safety protocols when they send their children to public schools in the city day in and day out,” the report said. letter signed by Corporation Counsel Georgia Pestana.

The four plaintiffs initially challenged the vaccination warrant on September 15 in a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, saying they risked losing their jobs, benefits and seniority if they did not comply. not.

“Such continuous and draconian punishment shocks conscience, violates constitutional rights, and not only should not be allowed, but must be immediately brought under control to avoid irreparable damage,” they argued.

The complainants said the experience of the school system last year showed that vaccinations were unnecessary because a safe learning environment could be created with masks and other precautions.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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