Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has imposed a Covid-19 vaccination mandate on private schools in the city, affecting around 56,000 staff. The order is expected to meet resistance from Orthodox Jews.
“We are doing everything in our power to protect our students and school staff, and a mandate for non-public school staff will help keep our school communities and younger New Yorkers safe.” de Blasio said in a statement Thursday, announcing the warrant.
Breaking news: New York City will require employees of yeshivots, Catholic schools and other private schools to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The new directive is expected to affect around 930 schools and 56,000 employees, city officials said. https://t.co/77HWJFfBeD
– The New York Times (@nytimes) December 2, 2021
Staff of around 930 Catholic schools, yeshivas and other private institutions will have to prove at least the first dose by December 20 or lose their jobs. Jabs were mandatory for public school employees in August, with the state Department of Education estimating the compliance rate to be over 95%, according to the New York Times.
The tenure is one of de Blasio’s last acts in office, as he will be replaced by fellow Democrat Eric Adams on January 1. The Times noted that it could meet resistance from “Religious” Jews, who she said resisted government action during the pandemic due to “Disinformation campaigns”.
While 77% of all New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine, vaccination rates in areas with large Jewish communities, such as Brooklyn’s Borough Park and South Williamsburg, are 51% and 59%, respectively. Jewish media have previously called De Blasio’s tenure a bad Hanukkah gift.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of New York is “very encouraging” vaccinations in his schools already, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan telling PIX11 in August that the church “Cannot endanger the health of children”.
There is not yet a city or state mandate for students, but some private schools in the city have already started to enforce theirs. “Elite strongholds” such as Spence, Chapin and Horace Mann have sent letters to parents giving parents January or February deadlines for children ages 5 to 11, The New York Post reported on Wednesday.
Adams, the new mayor, has already said he will support mandatory vaccinations for students.
“We already have a system in place that says before you start school you get your vaccine. It is to protect the child and the student body. Adams told WCBS Newsradio in October, just before health officials approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use in adolescents.
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