New York City's public schools have been largely unaffected by lingering resistance to the city's vaccination mandate for Department of Education (DOE) employees.
The controversial mandate went into effect on Monday, a week after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a challenge to it.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio reported that about 3,000 teachers from 1,600 city schools were on unpaid leave due to the new rules, which require DOE employees to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to continue working.
The city has more than enough substitutes to cover the openings caused by the remaining vaccine holdouts, according to de Blasio and the DOE.
The DOE previously reported that about 95 percent of its employees had met the vaccine requirements, including 96 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals.
On Tuesday, a judge again ruled in favor of the city, rejecting a request to temporarily block the vaccine mandate.
U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil said the lawsuit filed on behalf of several DOE employees did not meet the requirements of irreparable harm, likelihood of success of public interest. Vyskocil said she could not "ignore the harm that could take place if the schoolchildren were exposed to the risk of COVID" if she issued the injunction.
That harm "cannot be undone," she added.
De Blasio said Tuesday that the mandates are a crucial step to keeping children safe from COVID.
"The mandates have worked," he said in a virtual new briefing. "We need to use them more and more all over the country."
He later confirmed that he will be discussing vaccine requirements for other departments, like the police, "over the next few days."
The vaccine mandate for city teachers went into effect a week after a statewide mandate for hospital and nursing home workers went into effect. Like with NYC schools, despite loud opposition to the new rules, most healthcare facilities reported widespread cooperation and a dramatic increase in vaccination rate.