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Supreme Court declines to block New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers

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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday declined to block New York City's requirement that public school teachers receive COVID-19 vaccinations, marking the second time the nation's high court has declined to wade into the issue.

A group of teachers in New York had asked the Supreme Court for an emergency injunction to block implementation of the mandate, which required them to receive a shot by 5 p.m. Friday or face suspension without pay when schools open Monday.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the emergency request without comment. A federal appeals court earlier in the week permitted New York's mandate.

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"Our vaccine requirement for NYC school staff has now been reviewed in state courts, federal courts, and the Supreme Court and upheld," New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi posted. "Vaccination will keep students and staff safer."

An attorney for the teachers said they are disappointed by the decision but that "the fight for our clients’ due process and those similarly situated will go on."

The attorney, Vinoo Varghese, said the outcome meant "the children will suffer and so will fantastic public employees."

Co-teachers at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 Marisa Wiezel (who is related to the photographer) and Caitlin Kenny give a lesson to their masked students in their classroom on September 27, 2021, in New York City. New York City schools fully reopened earlier this month with all in-person classrooms and mandatory masks on students.
Co-teachers at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 Marisa Wiezel (who is related to the photographer) and Caitlin Kenny give a lesson to their masked students in their classroom on September 27, 2021, in New York City. New York City schools fully reopened earlier this month with all in-person classrooms and mandatory masks on students.

Federal courts are increasingly being asked to jump into the fray of vaccine mandates as employers and business require more Americans to receive the shot.

In August, the Supreme Court declined to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate at Indiana University, clearing the way for school officials to require students and faculty members to be vaccinated. In that case, Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected a request from Indiana University students for emergency relief.

Sotomayor did not refer to the emergency request to the full court and did not wait for New York to file a reply to the appeal, potentially signaling skepticism about the lawsuit's legal arguments.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court allows COVID vaccine mandate for New York City teachers

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