The leaders of two major unions representing teachers, principals and school supervisors in New York City say they have major concerns about how schools will be both safe and properly staffed ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate deadline Monday.
Both the United Federation of Teachers and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators are calling on de Blasio to delay the deadline, which is Monday at midnight.
As of Thursday, 81% of all Department of Education employees and 87% of teachers have received at least one dose, according to the New York City Department of Education.
That means about 10,000 New York City school teachers have yet to upload proof of their vaccination. If they do not, they risk losing their jobs — faced with the option of either taking a year of unpaid leave, or leaving with a severance package.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Mark Cannizzaro said they both have no idea at this point just how bad things could be at each individual school, saying that information has not been shared openly by the NYC Board of Education.
“I’ve heard from several schools that have anywhere between 30 and 100 people currently on a non-compliant list,” Cannizzaro said.
Cannizzaro said that he’s heard urgent concerns from his members about what will unfold on Tuesday morning.
“The truth is, at this point, principals and superintendents have been reaching out consistently to tell us that they are concerned about not having enough staff come Tuesday morning September 28,” Cannizzaro said during a joint press conference with Mulgrew on Friday morning.
“We’re probably going to land up in a place where all right, we have five schools in this district that need three or four teachers and then we have two other schools in the district that need 25 teachers,” Mulgrew said.
Cannizzaro and Mulgrew both said de Blasio’s optimism that enough people will get vaccinated by Monday night is not enough and have pushed for an actual plan of action.
“No one has reached out to find out exactly which schools are going to have an issue, and giving them additional support to make sure that the principal, the superintendent and everyone is comfortable that kids will be safe come Tuesday morning,” Cannizzaro said of the Department of Education
The department and de Blasio have said they are prepared for the Monday deadline with reserves prepared to deploy from pools of substitute teachers in the wings or other former teachers working in other areas. The Department of Education says it has a reserve pool of 11,000 substitute teachers.
CNN has reached out to the Mayor’s office and the NYC DOE for comment on the UFT and CSA remarks.