A federal appeals judge has temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccination mandate for teachers and other workers days before it takes effect.
The workers’ mandate for the largest school system in the US was due to take effect on Monday.
Late on Friday, a judge at the second US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction and expedited the case to a three-judge panel.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education, Danielle Filson, said officials were seeking a speedy resolution next week.
“We are confident that our vaccine mandate will continue to be met once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection that our students and staff deserve,” Filson said.
The New York Post reported that the department sent an email to directors Saturday morning saying they “should continue to prepare for the possibility of the vaccine mandate going into effect later in the week.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in August that some 148,000 school employees would have to receive at least a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by September 27. The policy covers teachers along with other staff members, such as custodians and cafeteria workers.
It is the first vaccination mandate without a test option for a broad group of city workers in the most populous city in the country. And it reflects a similar state mandate for hospital and nursing home workers that goes into effect Monday.
As of Friday, 82% of the department’s employees had been vaccinated, including 88% of teachers. Even though most school workers have been vaccinated, unions representing principals and teachers warned that it could still leave the one million student school system without up to 10,000 teachers, along with other staff members.
De Blasio has resisted calls to delay the mandate, insisting the city was ready.
“We have been planning all the time,” the Democrat said in a radio interview on Friday. “We have a lot of substitutes ready. A lot will happen between now and Monday, but beyond that, we are ready even for the tune of if we need thousands, we have thousands. “