UFT president talks NYC teacher vaccine mandate, remote learning

Reopening Schools

NEW YORK — As of Friday, education employees in New York City have one month to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate announced earlier this week.

All Department of Education employees get at least one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27.

The teachers union is still hashing out the implementation details of the mandate and whether or not some employees will be exempt. 

President of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew spoke with PIX11 News about the mandate and whether or not there will be a remote option for some students this academic year. 

Mulgrew said the focus is “always about the safety of everyone” and bargaining has started between the city and the union.

Their goal is to get people vaccinated, teachers currently have the highest percentage of vaccinated workforce members, Mulgrew said.

According to the union president, they are still looking at all the legalities of what the city is doing and are making sure collective bargaining rights are doing everything in its power.

Is remote learning an option? 

Mulgrew said it’s still an option, but not like how it was last year for the majority of students.

He said a remote program will be needed, but they need to make sure teachers are not being overburdened with work.

Mulgrew also criticized the mayor, who has said remote learning is off the table. “It’s just not realistic,” he said.

The mayor and schools chancellor outlined COVID-19 school safety guidelines Thursday, which provided more information on what would happen to students who had to quarantine for several days.

Younger kids ineligible to get vaccinated would receive live, online instruction for the duration of their quarantine while older students quarantined will receive access to remote learning.

Immunocompromised students will be given the option of having a licensed instructor teach them at home.

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