850 NYC Teachers Fired for Failing to Get COVID Vaccine
Nearly 2,000 New York City school employees have been terminated since the vaccine mandate took effect in Oct. 2021.
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The New York City Department of Education has fired 850 teachers and classroom aides for refusing to show proof they were vaccinated against COVID-19.
The latest round of firing brings the total to nearly 2,000 school employees terminated since the vaccine mandate took effect in Oct. 2021, reports The New York Post. Back in February, more than 1,000 workers who failed to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate were fired.
About 1,300 DOE employees who took unpaid leave with benefits last year agreed to show proof of vaccination by Sept. 5 or be “deemed to have voluntarily resigned,” DOE officials told The Post. Of those employees, 450 got the shot by the deadline and are returning to their jobs. Those include 225 teachers and 135 paraprofessionals.
Some have voiced frustration that NYC Mayor Eric Adams has not lifted the vaccine mandate for city employees despite other cities and states doing so as the CDC has relaxed its guidelines for exposures and quarantining. In all, NYC has fired more than 2,700 municipal workers for not being fully vaccinated.
Rachelle Garcia, an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn who says she worked fully in person during the pandemic, told The Post that she took a leave of absence after the DOE denied her requests for a religious exemption.
“I really put my eggs in one basket, hoping and praying that at the last minute our mayor would turn everything around in time for me to go back to work,” said Garcia, who has been applying for jobs on Long Island.
The terminations also come amid an ongoing teacher shortage in the state of New York. The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) estimates the state will need more than 180,000 teachers in the next decade, according to Fox 11. Enrollment in the state’s teacher education programs has also dropped by 53% since 2009.
According to the New York State Education Department (NYSED), NYC is struggling with staffing in 17 subject areas, including special education and reading and literacy.
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