Judge says NYC can move ahead with DOE vaccine mandate

A Manhattan judge has lifted a temporary restraining order that blocked the city from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all Department of Education employees.

Judge Laurence Love rejected arguments from a coalition of union groups that the requirement violated their civil rights as he removed the TRO issued last week.

While Love will issue a final ruling later, Wednesday’s decision signals that he will likely approve the mandate.

The city established a Sept. 27 deadline for all 130,000 DOE employees — including 78,000 teachers — to get at least one vaccine dose.

Love’s ruling, issued Wednesday afternoon, clears the way for the city to enforce that mandate beginning Monday.

“This is a big win for New York City children and Department of Education employees,” said DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson. “Their health and safety is at the very core of this vaccine mandate, and we are pleased the court recognized the City’s legal authority to implement the Health Commissioner’s Order beginning September 27.”

Anti-vaxx teachers and activists gathered at NYC’s Foley Square to protest the vaccine mandate on Sept. 13, 2021.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York
Anti-vax teachers and other anti-vax groups gathered at Foley Square in New York City to protest the vaccine mandate put in place by New York City on teachers. ... Sept. 13, 2021.
NYC established a Sept. 27 deadline for all 130,000 DOE employees — including 78,000 teachers — to get at least one jab.
Kevin C. Downs for The New York

The DOE said this week that 87 percent of teachers have gotten the shot — leaving more than 10,000 educators unvaccinated with only days to spare.

Staffers have the option of getting a religious or medical exemption, but sources told The Post this week that those accommodations are being given sparingly.

Those without an exemption who are still unvaccinated by Monday must either take a year of unpaid leave or depart the DOE with a severance package.

Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated his belief Wednesday that city schools will not face staffing shortages despite the considerable number of unvaccinated teachers.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter said that the DOE has a battalion of vaccinated substitutes ready to fill the breach in the event of shortfalls next week.