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NYC vaccine mandate for teachers, staff to go forward

September 23, 2021 Associated Press
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A vaccine mandate for New York City’s public school teachers and other staffers can go forward as planned next week, after a state judge on Wednesday lifted a temporary restraining order.

The city had announced last month that school employees would have to get at least a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27, impacting about 148,000 school workers and contractors.

A coalition of city unions had filed a lawsuit against the mandate and had asked for the injunction against its implementation. State Supreme Court Justice Laurence Love put the TRO in place last week, but removed it in his ruling on Wednesday.

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In a statement, the Department of Education said the ruling was “a big win for New York City children and Department of Education employees. Their health and safety is at the very core of this vaccine mandate, and we are pleased the court recognized the city’s legal authority.”

The officials with the unions said they intended to continue the legal action.

“We are deeply disappointed that the temporary injunction has been lifted,” Henry Garrido, executive director of DC 37, said in a statement. “This is not the end of the road and we will continue to fight for the right of workers to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Love said he had initially ordered the injunction because the city’s original mandate didn’t say anything about medical or religious exemptions, but said the city subsequently put out language saying nothing in the mandate would prohibit accommodations that are legally required.

He said that removed the need for the injunction, and also doubted the unions’ ultimately being able to succeed in their claim that their due process rights were being violated.

“The state and federal courts have consistently held that a mandatory vaccine requirement does not violate substantive due process rights and properly fall within the state’s police power,” Love wrote.

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