NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A federal judge in Manhattan declined Tuesday to impose a temporary restraining order on New York City's public school vaccine mandate, rejecting a request from a special education teacher who was denied a religious exemption.
Michael Kane and nine other educators, who all said they possess sincerely held religious beliefs that compel them to eschew any vaccine, sought the temporary restraining order, claiming the mandate violates the free exercise and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.
"Plaintiffs have not made an adequate showing to entitle them to a temporary restraining order," Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil said. "If I were to grant injunctive relief today there could be an enormous disruption for school for thousands of New York City school children."
With the mandate now in full effect, teachers who haven't gotten their shots cannot show up to work.
The vast majority of teachers, 96%, have complied with the mandate. That number is 99% for principals and 95% for full-time DOE employees.
As of Tuesday, the Department of Education said 3,000 unvaccinated teachers were on unpaid leave, and 7,000 substitute teachers or paraprofessionals were used across the system Monday.
There were another 1,000 replacement employees throughout other jobs.
The mayor says the unvaccinated staff will be welcomed back to schools if they decide to get the vaccine.
Protests were held Monday from thousands opposed to the mandate.
Even as the hearing in federal court was happening, Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his praise of the mandate and its impact.
Since the requirement was first announced, 43,000 Department of Education employees have gotten vaccinated, 18,000 in the last ten days alone, the mayor said Tuesday morning.
And in the last 24 hours, 600 additional workers received shots.
For its part, the union has criticized the rollout of the mandate.
Those teachers who oppose the requirement say they are not against the vaccine itself, just the mandate.
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