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New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for their teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge just days before it was to take effect.
Workers in the nation’s largest school system were to be required to show vaccination proof starting Monday. But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction sought by a group of teachers pending review by a three-judge panel, which will take up the motion on Wednesday.
Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said officials were seeking a speedy resolution in court.
“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,” Filson said in an email.
The New York Post reported that the department sent an email to principals on Saturday morning saying they “should continue to prepare for the possibility that the vaccine mandate will go into effect later in the week.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that about 148,000 school employees would be required to get at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27. The policy covers teachers, along with other staffers, such as custodians and cafeteria workers.
It’s the first no-test-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers in the most populous city in the United States. And it mirrors a similar statewide mandate for hospital and nursing home workers set to go into effect on Monday.
As of Friday, 82 per cent of department employees have been vaccinated, including 88 per cent of teachers.
Even though most school workers have been vaccinated, unions representing New York City principals and teachers warned that could still leave the one million-student school system short of as many as 10,000 teachers, along with other staffers.
De Blasio has resisted calls to delay the mandate, insisting the city was ready.
“We’ve been planning all along. We have a lot of substitutes ready,” the Democrat said in a radio interview on Friday.
“A lot is going to happen between now and Monday, but beyond that, we are ready, even to the tune of, if we need thousands, we have thousands.”
What’s happening across Canada
- N.L. reports 14 new case as 80 per cent of eligible residents now fully vaccinated.
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday , more than 231.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool, which collects data from around the world. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million.
In Africa, South Africa has sent a train into one of the country’s poorest provinces, carrying COVID-19 vaccines and doctors and nurses to administer them. The vaccine train, named Transvaco, is on a three-month tour through Eastern Cape province and will stop at seven stations for two weeks at a time to vaccinate people.
In Europe, several hundred protesters gathered in the Netherlands on Saturday to march against the introduction of a “corona pass” as proof of COVID-19 vaccination became compulsory to get into bars, restaurants, theatres and other venues. The new requirement to show the pass, or a recent negative coronavirus test, coincided with the lifting of almost all physical-distancing measures in the country, where 72 per cent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose.
In the Americas, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s son and two members of his cabinet said on Friday that they had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing to four the number of close aides diagnosed since the far-right leader’s trip to the United Nations. The news comes three days after Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced that he had tested positive. Queiroga remained behind in the United States to quarantine.
In Asia, South Korea’s daily increase in coronavirus infections exceeded 3,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Officials believe the virus spread further beyond the capital region during the Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving that began on the weekend and continued through Wednesday — a period during which millions usually travel across the country to meet relatives. Officials say the country may see even bigger daily jumps next week as more people get tested.
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