October 1 (WNN) — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday dismissed a request by New York City teachers challenging a mandate that all public school employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
She refused to refer the case to the full US Supreme Court, hours before the deadline set by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mandate, announced on August 23, required all teachers and staff to receive their first shot by 5 p.m. Friday or be suspended without pay on Monday.
A group of teachers sued the city, arguing that 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 routine testing instead of a vaccine, the city provides no similar opt-out.
An appellate judge blocked the mandate earlier this week, but a three-judge panel of the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the mandate. The teachers asked the Supreme Court to issue an injunction while further appeals go on.
As of Monday, 87% of all New York City Department of Education employees had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 90% of teachers and 97% of principals.
Some 10,000 teachers remain illiterate, worrying that the mandate could lead to teacher shortages if not enough alternatives are provided.