Appeals court rules against unvaccinated NYC teachers, says vaccine mandate is legal

Last week, teachers who, for whatever reason, refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine scored a victory thanks to a judge’s ruling of a temporary injunction against the city’s vaccine mandate for teachers. Unfortunately, that victory was short-lived.

According to The Daily Wire, the issue was forwarded to a three-judge panel in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan for a final ruling, which ultimately resulted in a decision upholding the original vaccine mandate. 

In other words, teachers and staffers in the country’s largest school district have fallen victim to yet another Democrat-led, COVID-19 vaccine mandate, with little hope of reprieve.

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all teachers and staff in the NYC public school district was originally announced by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in August, CNBC reported.

What happens now?

Attorney Mark Fonte, who represented a group of teachers who filed the lawsuit to block the vaccine mandate, made clear that he’ll continue to fight the city, vowing to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“With thousands of teachers not vaccinated the City may regret what it wished for. Our children will be left with no teachers and no security in schools,” Fonte said as he expressed his disappointment in the court’s ruling.

He’s not wrong, either. While some 87% of teachers are vaccinated, that still leaves thousands who are not, and probably will continue to refuse to do so, which many believe will cripple NYC’s school year as administrators scramble to find substitutes and other critical positions such as custodians and security.

Lawyers for the teachers argued that teachers placed on unpaid leave as a result of refusing the vaccination will result in “teachers and paraprofessionals without the resources to pay rent, utilities, and other essentials. The harm is imminent.”

While the ruling gave the NYC public school system immediate jurisdiction to enforce such a mandate, it’s unclear whether the city will decide to enforce it right away, given the undeniable challenges enforcing the mandate will create.

DOE cheers ruling

Not surprisingly, the Department of Education (DOE) approved of the appeals court ruling, adding that it believes the decision is on the “right side of the law.”

“Vaccinations are our strongest tool in the fight against COVID-19 – this ruling is on the right side of the law and will protect our students and staff,” an unnamed DOE spokesperson said.

Hopefully, Fonte and other attorneys representing the teachers who fought back will eventually have their day in the Supreme Court. A win in the high court would be a landmark precedent set for school districts across the country.

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