Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City public school teachers and staff are facing a new deadline to be fully vaccinated: Friday at 5 p.m.
The new order comes after a court dismissed a temporary hold on the city's vaccine mandate on Monday.
This represents a resounding victory for the city and its vaccine mandate.
A federal appeals court not only ruled in favor of the city, the panel of three judges didn't even bother to hold a court hearing.
The decision came as school employees opposed to mandatory vaccination rallied in the streets Monday night.
The city's Department of Education said in its statement, "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."
A Brooklyn judge who previously ruled in the city's favor said it's not unreasonable to expect that school employees dealing with unvaccinated children should be required to follow the recommendation of health experts and get vaccinated.
Now the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are going to petition the state's Supreme Court.
"I'm trying not to be discouraged, because i know so many people look to me to be a face of strength," said plaintiff Rachel Manisalco. "And (even) in a moment of weakness, I will never comply."
But the vast majority of teacher have already complied, according to the city.
The most recent totals are 87% of all employees, including 90% of teachers and 97% of principals.
While those numbers look good, it's important to remember that New York City has the largest public school system in the country.
So if 13% percent of the workforce isn't vaccinated, that percentage represents thousands of people who will have to somehow be replaced by Monday.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said a survey of some of its members found that only a third thought their schools could open without disruption.
"The city has a lot of work before it to ensure that enough vaccinated staff will be available by the new deadline," he said in a statement.
Lawyers for teachers argued Monday in papers submitted to the 2nd Circuit that teachers who are placed on unpaid leave because they have not complied with the order will be irreparably harmed if the appeals court failed to block the mandate.
The lawyers wrote that the city's order will "leave teachers and paraprofessionals without the resources to pay rent, utilities, and other essentials. The harm is imminent."
They said the mandate would leave thousands of New York City children in the nation's largest school district without their teachers and other school workers.
"Imminent and irreparable harm exists," the lawyers insisted.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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