NYC health commissioner and schools chancellor talk vaccine mandate, vaccine push for kids, more

Reopening Schools

NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced a new vaccine mandate for indoor activities in the city. Once enforced, it will bar unvaccinated people from eating in restaurants, going to gyms, taking in a show and more.

Enforcement starts in September, the same day as the first day of school for public schools.

Meanwhile, there’s also an increased effort to get more students vaccinated ahead of the new academic year.

NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter an NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi joined the PIX11 Morning News on Wednesday to talk about both topics and all related issues.

How vaccine mandate will work for those ineligible to get vaccinated

Chokshi said the city is still gathering input from the businesses and sectors that will be affected by the new mandate, including the issue of accommodating those not eligible to get the vaccine. This includes children under 12 who might be with family members who are vaccinated.

What if you got the vaccine outside of New York?

Chokshi said anyone can simply show their paper CDC vaccination card at a business to gain entry.

Alternatively, those people can upload a photo of their vaccine card to a state or city app, such as the New York Excelsior Pass, which works as digital proof of vaccination.

How is the Department of Education reaching unvaccinated students?

Porter said the department is making phone calls, while principals and teachers are also reaching out to families directly.

The chancellor noted that while this week is the last week for a student to start their shots in order to be fully vaccinated by the start of school in September, “it’s not the last moment” for it.

Porter said they are going Summer Rising sites across the city to get more students, staff and parents vaccinated, including an extra push in areas of the Bronx and Staten Island where infection rates are higher.

Are people who get the at-home vaccination still able to get the $100 incentive?

Chokshi confirmed that those who get the vaccine in the comfort of their home through the city are indeed still eligible for the $100 incentive.

He said those wishing to be vaccinated at home can go to nyc.gov/HomeVaccine or call 1-877-VAX-4NYC.

NYC schools’ continued push to get more in community vaccinated

Porter said the Department of Education will be working with PTA groups to host vaccination events this fall for local school districts.

The city will give those PTA groups $100 for each person they refer for their first dose.

Will students still be required to wear masks in class for the new school year?

Chokshi confirmed that everyone in the school setting, including students, teachers and staff, will need to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

“It’s been one of the most important layers of safety,” he said.

Will a remote learning option be available for students under 12 who can’t get vaccinated?

Porter said that while NYC schools will always have different options for immunocompromised students, there will not be a remote option widely available like last year.

The schools chancellor said they feel it’s important to have students and teachers in the classroom, as the children’s mental health is another risk they must consider.

“The most important thing we can do for kids under 12 is to ensure everyone around them is vaccinated,” Chokshi added.

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