By Natalie Duddridge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Court rulings have temporarily stopped teachers in New York City and medical workers in New York state from being required to get the COVID vaccine.

As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter were at an elementary school in Williamsburg to meet students during their first week of school, but the question on many parents’ minds as they dropped their kids off was will teachers still be mandated to get the shot?

READ MORE: NYC Teacher, Principal Unions Warn Of School Staffing Shortages When Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect; De Blasio Says Substitutes Standing By

“What about the judge temporarily blocking it?” Duddridge asked de Blasio.

“That appears to be just a procedural issue… we’re quite confident in our situation,” de Blasio replied.

De Blasio appeared unfazed that a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled to temporarily block the vaccine mandate for teachers, which requires staff to have at least one shot by Sept. 27 or face termination.

COVID VACCINE

“It doesn’t change our approach. It’s very temporary,” de Blasio said. “We are very confident in our legal position. We’re building the framework for full implementation on the 27th.”

A municipal union claims the mandate violates constitutional rights.

“I feel like it’s optional, that it shouldn’t be forced on kids, nor teachers,” said Williamsburg resident Sadie Perez. “For safety reasons, mask is perfect.”

“I feel like it’s not right to force them to do it, but it’s also the right decision for the benefit of the kids,” said Williamsburg resident Skylinn Rodridguez.

The head of the city’s largest union, DC-37, said in a statement “While we believe our members should get the vaccine, we don’t believe it should be a condition of employment.”

But many parents, like Kijana Jackson, say the vaccine is necessary for their child’s safety.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

READ MORE: CDC Backs Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots For Millions Of Seniors And Some Others

“You’re dealing with kids. My child is under the age of 12 that cannot get this vaccine,” Jackson said.

“I think it’s a good idea, but it’s a difficult topic,” one person said. “My dad’s a physician, so he sees all the students getting sick. So right now, the situation, it makes sense to have all the teachers teaching actively in person do it.”

School staff can apply for medical or religious exemptions.

A judge also temporarily blocked New York state’s mandate that health care workers must receive the COVID vaccine by Sept. 27. This after 17 healthcare workers filed lawsuits.

Some critics worry the mandate could cause health care staffing issues if some employees refuse to get the shot, but Gov. Kathy Hochul said hospitals are prepared.

“It’s the smart thing to do. We have to continue the mandates. I will make sure that we have the resources. Hospitals are required to have temporary staffing plans,” Hochul said.

The court set a Sept. 22 hearing date for both sides to hash it out.

Meanwhile, Hochul announced Wednesday a new mask mandate for children.

“Starting today, we are going to require masks for child and daycare centers,” Hochul said. “We don’t have a vaccine available for 5-11-year-olds, and I’m very anxious to get this approved. As soon as it is, we’ll work with parents, doctors… but we’re not hearing that will happen for a number of months yet.”

Looking ahead to booster shots, the governor also said she’s directing the Department of Health to allow basic EMTs to administer vaccines.

She said 50,000 people are eligible for training.

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Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Sept. 15, 2021

Natalie Duddridge