Federal judge temporarily blocks DOE vaccine mandate

Public school
Photo credit Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A federal judge has issued a ruling temporarily blocking the city from implementing its vaccine mandate on Monday for Department of Education staffers, according to the city.

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The mandate would have required all public school teachers and staff to have received at least one vaccine dose by Monday night.

The city is pushing for a quick resolution by the circuit court and will continue weekly testing at the public schools, DOE Chancellor Meisha Porter wrote in a letter to employees obtained by WCBS 880.

“Yesterday evening, a federal judge placed a temporary injunction on the vaccine mandate for DOE staff. The City and DOE are urging a speedy resolution by the Circuit Court this week,” Porter wrote in the letter.

Porter added that the city is “confident” that the vaccine mandate for staff will ultimately be upheld and implemented later next week.

“While this means that the current vaccine or weekly testing mandate remains in place for the week of September 27 for all staff, we should continue to prepare for the possibility that the vaccine mandate wil go into effect later in the week,” she said.

About 81% of all DOE employees and 87% of the department’s teachers have received at least one dose as of Thursday night, CNN reported.

The ruling came for one of two ongoing lawsuits involving the city's coronavirus vaccine mandate for DOE teachers and staff. One suit was brought by a group of teachers and another was brought by the teachers' union, the UFT.

The UFT is still awaiting a rulling on their case, though the judge earlier this week lifted a temprary injunction blocking the mandate in that case.

A three-judge panel will consider the federal appeals decision Wednesday, at which point the city is hopeful it will be able to officially institute its mandate.