New York City’s Mayor, Bill De Blasio, announced that all private and parochial school teachers must be vaccinated against Covid-19. This will affect about 56,000 employees at 938 schools.
The mandate states that the teachers must prove that they receive their first dose by December 20th. Public school teachers were already required to receive the vaccine by October. In a statement, De Blasio said:
“We’re doing everything in our power to protect our students and school staff, and a mandate for nonpublic school employees will help keep our school communities and youngest New Yorkers safe.”
Chairman of the Committee of NYC Religious and Independent School Officials Rabbi David Zwiebel wrote a letter to Mayor De Blasio stating:
“While we support and generally encourage Covid vaccination in our schools, and while in fact the large majority of our schools’ employees are so vaccinated, most of our schools do not insist upon such vaccination as a condition of employment. Many of our schools view Covid vaccination as a matter most appropriately left to individual choice, not governmental fiat.”
City Hall officials stated that they would supply vaccines to any private or religious schools that request them. The city will also work with schools to prepare them for the mandate and ensure compliance. City officials did not state how many employees are already vaccinated or how they would enforce the mandate.
Zwiebel noted that a small number of private school employees would continue to refuse the vaccine. This will affect struggling schools that were already trying to fill vacancies.
A staffer at a Yeshiva said, “There is going to be a lot of opposition to this; there is no doubt about it. A lot of us felt under attack already. This is going to continue that feeling. The worker also shared that most of the Yeshiva school’s staff are unvaccinated. There are even schools where not one employee has received the shot.
In 2019, New York State removed its religious exemption to vaccines requirements for school children. This came after the country’s largest measles outbreak in decades. The source of most of the infections was in New York’s orthodox Jewish community.