NYC school staffers ask SCOTUS to block city's vaccine mandate

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Friday, October 1, 2021
NYC teachers take case to SCOTUS, 'Aladdin' reopens on Broadway
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- A group of New York City public school teachers asked the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday to block the city's vaccine mandate for school employees, claiming it violates their due process and equal protection rights.

"If permitted to take effect, the August 23 Order will force thousands of unvaccinated public-school employees to lose their jobs-while other municipal employees, including those who have significant contact with children, are allowed to opt-out of the vaccine mandate through weekly COVID-19 testing," the petition said.

Rachel Maniscalco, Evelyn Arancio, Diana Salomon, and Corinne Lynch said they have a fundamental right to their respected profession as public school teachers.

"While a temporary interruption of work is not actionable, the mandate here would have a permanent effect: it is open-ended, where if a teacher never gets vaccinated, he or she will never be able to return to work," the petition said.

A federal appeals court earlier this week dissolved a temporary injunction and allowed the mandate to stand. The city has given school employees until 5 p.m. Friday to comply before enforcement begins Monday.

The unvaccinated teachers said they should be given an option to regularly test rather than forced to get the shot and they accused the city of failing to explain why that alternative was not made available.

"As the number of unvaccinated is small compared to that of the vaccinated, there is no basis to mandate vaccines in lieu of weekly testing," the petition said.

"I do not believe that this is just about a vaccine, I do not believe this is just about our health, this is about medical freedom, this is about totalitarianism," Maniscalco said.

However, Mayor Bill de Blasio, most public health experts and even most teachers say that's not the case.

As of earlier this week, 87% of Department of Education employees were on board -- including 91% of teachers and 97% of principals.

"There is a broad understanding, among teachers, among staff, it's time to get vaccinated," de Blasio said. "And if you haven't, there was an arbitration for God's sakes, everyone understands what happens if you are not vaccinated in time what the penalties are. I don't expect a lot of people want to experience those penalties."

The mayor has also resisted calls from parents and vaccinated teachers who worry firing the unvaccinated will lead to understaffed and overcrowded classrooms.

De Blasio insists there are enough subs to shoulder the weight.

Maniscalco declined a request for an interview on Thursday night - and her three fellow Supreme Court petitioners never got back to us.

If the court fails to take up their case - or rules against them - the city's mandate will take effect, meaning unvaccinated school employees will be out of work Friday at 5 p.m.

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