Judge temporarily blocks New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers

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School children cross 10th Avenue on Monday, June 7, 2021 in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

School children cross 10th Avenue on Monday, June 7, 2021 in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court judge has blocked New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate just days before it was set to go into effect.

U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Joseph F. Bianco sided with a group of New York City teachers late Friday who brought a challenge against the requirement.

The group of teachers brought the lawsuit earlier this month arguing the mandate violated their right to due process and put them at risk of losing their livelihoods. The lawsuit argued that unlike the federal mandate, which gives workers the option to undergo regular tests instead of the vaccine, the city offers no similar opt-out.

Bianco, in the short ruling, ordered a temporary injunction against the mandate while a three-judge panel decided the matter on an expedited timeline.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued his requirement in August that would require nearly 150,000 workers in the city's public school system to have at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27.

The New York City Department of Education does not expect a ruling before Wednesday, press secretary Danielle Filson told The Hill. But he said the department remains confident the mandate will be upheld. More than 82% of department employees are vaccinated, he said.

The teacher's union has warned of staff shortages if the city moves ahead with the mandate, reports CBS New York. But de Blasio said the city has been preparing for that scenario and has substitutes that can be called upon.

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