Supreme Court Allows NYC’s Teacher Vaccine Mandate To Take Effect

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor refused to stop New York City's mandate for public schools to have vaccines on Friday. This allowed the nation's largest school district to continue with plans to eliminate unvaccinated employees from its payroll next week.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Bronx middle-school to welcome students. Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Key Facts

A number of teachers requested an emergency injunction from the high court on Thursday. They argued that the mandate placed an unconstitutional burden upon public school teachers by preventing them from opting out of being vaccinated. Sotomayor denied Friday's request for an injunction. If school staff fail to provide proof of vaccination, they will be removed on Monday from the district payroll unless they are granted a religious or medical exemption.

Important Quote

In a Forbes statement, Georgia Pestana, New York City Corporation Counsel, said that Justice Sotomayor's decision was a great victory for her. She made the right decision on the law, in the best interests of students and educators.

Chief Critic

Vinoo Varghese, a teacher attorney, stated that while we are disappointed, the fight for due process rights for our clients and others in similar situations will continue. We hope that New York City's next mayor will bring back normalcy, decency and order.

Big Number

90%. This is the percentage of New York City's public school employees that are at least partially vaccinated. Mayor Bill de Blasio stated Friday on MSNBCs Morning Joe that this includes 93% of school system teachers and 98% school principals.

Important Background

New York City introduced a mandate to immunize school staff, including administrators, teachers, and custodians, in August. This replaces the vaccine-or-test policy. Although the mandate was originally scheduled to go into effect this week, legal challenges delayed its implementation. After several teachers sued the city for blocking the policy, a federal district court judge refused to block it. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted its implementation last week in order for a panel of appellate judges to review the appeal. On Monday, however, the mandate was reinstated.

Surprising Fact

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett granted Indiana University's student coronavirus vaccination mandate to stand in August. She denied a request from a group students for an injunction.


Other states have similar government agencies that are urging public employees to be vaccinated. This has occasionally led to legal challenges. The mandate to vaccinate Massachusetts State Police troopers was the subject of a lawsuit by a union representing them. Charlie Baker (R), however, a judge in state court declined to issue an order last week.

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90% Of NYC School Employees Vaccinated Ahead Of Mandate Taking Effect, De Blasio Says (Forbes)