Just one day after a group of New York City teachers filed an emergency appeal to the nation’s highest court to block Covid-19 vaccination mandate for public teachers, Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the the request to hear the case on Friday, The Washington Post reports.
That means the teachers won’t be getting the legal relief they sought from the order requiring them to be vaccinated.
Though she offered no comment on the decision, the fact that Sotomayor denied the request without referring it to the full court or asking for a response from New York is generally a sign that the court believes the request lacks a compelling legal argument.
The vaccine mandate for 150,000 public school employees in New York City, ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio in August, went into effect at 5pm on Friday effectively putting thousands of workers that haven’t been inoculated – 18% of staffers, including 12% of teachers- at risk of losing their jobs.
If they show no proof of vaccination or religious or medical exemption after the deadline, they face suspension without pay when schools open Monday since the city can remove them from the payrolls.
Legal representatives of the teachers argued that the jab mandate violates their fundamental right to pursue an occupation and is also unfair since other city workers, such as police and firefighters, who have contact with the public are allowed to take weekly Covid-19 tests instead of getting the jab.
New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi stressed that the City’s vaccine requirement for NYC school staff, aimed at keeping the students and staff safer, has now been reviewed and upheld in state courts, federal courts, and the Supreme Court.
Since more and more employers and business require Americans to receive the vaccine, the federal courts are increasingly being asked to jump into the fray of vaccine mandates with the Supreme Court declining so far to intervene in two cases challenging school vaccine mandates.
Meanwhile, vaccination numbers continue to rise for the NYC Department of Education staffers though some administrators are still scrambling to fill faculty holes before the Monday morning deadline.
According to DOE’s data, at least 90% of its 148,000 staffers and 93% percent of its 78,000 classroom teachers have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Friday with only 500 religious or medical exemptions being awarded so far.
As Mayor de Blasio and schools Chancellor Meisha Porter asserted before, the staffing needs will be addressed as they arise with vaccinated auxiliary staffers.
DOE claimed on Friday they have support systems in place with 9,000 vaccinated substitute teachers, 5,000 vaccinated substitute paraprofessionals and qualified Central staff that can be redeployed.