NYC teachers’ appeal to block school vaccine mandate denied

NEW YORK (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday denied an emergency appeal from a group of teachers to block New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school teachers and other staff from going into effect.

The teachers had filed for the injunction with Sotomayor on Thursday, in an effort to keep the mandate from going into effect Friday.

Under the mandate rules, the roughly 148,000 school employees had until 5 p.m. Friday to get at least their first vaccine shot. Those who didn’t face suspension without pay when schools open on Monday.

In a statement, Georgia Pestana, the city’s corporation counsel, said, “We are gratified by this decision by Justice Sotomayor. She made the right call on the law and in the best interest of students and educators.”

Vinoo Varghese, an attorney for the teachers, said in an email, “We are disappointed, but the fight for our clients’ due process and those similarly situated will go on.”

An original deadline earlier this week was delayed after a legal challenge, but a federal appeals panel said Monday that New York City could go ahead with the mandate in the country’s largest school district.

In August, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied an emergency appeal from students at Indiana University to block that institution’s vaccine mandate.

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