New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and the Department of Education (DOE) have announced that any New York public school staff that hasn’t received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be removed from payroll.
On Thursday, a mass email was sent out to all New York public school officials regarding the forthcoming September 27 deadline which requires all 130,000 DOE employees—including 78,000 teachers—to receive at least one vaccine dose.
“This email is a reminder that all DOE employees must submit proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine no later than Monday, September 27, as required by the DOE’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate,” the email reads.
“Any regular employees who fail to meet this deadline will be removed from payroll beginning Tuesday, September 28, unless they are on an approved vaccine exemption or leave,” the email continued.
The email concluded by stating that employees will be placed on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) if they don’t comply. While on LWOP, employees are not allowed to “enter their work or school site until they have taken corrective action to comply with the terms of the mandate.” Employees also won’t be to work and will not receive compensation, nor use annual leave, or sick time.
The email was sent to staffers by the DOE’s Division of Human Capital.
Employees do have the option of getting a religious or medical exemption but these are being given out sparingly, according to reports. Employees who don’t provide an exemption by September 27 must accept a year of unpaid leave or leave the DOE with a severance package.
Those without an exemption by Monday must either take a year of unpaid leave or depart the DOE with a severance package.
As of September 21, 28,000 DOE employees remain unvaccinated.
On September 10, a number of municipal unions sued City Hall due to de Blasio’s vaccination mandate for the DOE employees. Once the mandate was overturned, DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson spoke to The Associated Press about the court’s recent decision.
“This is a big win for New York City children and Department of Education employees,” said 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.”
The municipal unions stated that they will still pursue legal action against de Blasio after the court’s ruling.
“We are deeply disappointed that the temporary injunction has been lifted,” Henry Garrido, executive director of District Council 37, said in a press statement. “This is not the end of the road and we will continue to fight for the right of workers to make their own healthcare decisions.”
Newsweek has reached out to de Blasio for further comments.