NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter visited a high school on Staten Island Tuesday morning to lead a roundtable discussion on vaccines as part of the city's "Vax to School" push to get students inoculated before the start of the academic year.
The event at New Dorp High School included a call for teachers to get the shot, as parts of Staten Island have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has mandated city teachers either get vaccinated by the start of the school year or face weekly testing.
Nearly 94,000 pediatric cases have been reported across the country in just the last week, and children are hospitalized at a rate nearly four times higher than just a month ago.
COVID vaccination rates for children by zip code:
Kids as young as 12 are eligible for the two-dose Pfizer shot, but younger children still can't get vaccinated.
Still, the city has no plans to offer a remote option this fall, even though some officials are calling for one.
"I would love for every single student to be in school, but we know that may not happen," Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said. "For those who aren't going to be in school, what do we do to make sure they get educated? Because we had 18 months of a lot of kids not getting educated."
Brewer is calling on the Department of Education to create a plan for students to learn remotely, even with a mask mandate in place and more shots going into the arms of students.
She worries too many families aren't comfortable yet sending their children into a classroom.
The United Federation of Teachers is pushing members to get vaccinated.
"The way New York City gets out from under the pandemic is to reach herd immunity. And teachers, with a high vaccination rate, are already doing their part. The rest of the city has to follow suit if we are to beat the virus."
Teachers already have to get vaccinated or get tested weekly, but the American Federation of Teachers, a different union, is now calling for mandatory teacher vaccinations, with no testing option.
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