Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
On her first day in office, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that all public school staff in New York State will be required to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in weekly testing. The news comes just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio put a similar mandate in place for all teachers and staff, though there will be no test-out option in New York City.
According to an order set forth by de Blasio last month, New York City was giving Department of Education employees the choice to submit for weekly testing instead of being vaccinated, but the new mandate takes away this option. The State had no overall requirement for public school staff until now, though the governor did note that the weekly testing option will remain in place “for now.”
Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also announced that all public school staff must be fully vaccinated by October 18 or undergo testing at a minimum of once two twice a week.
“None of us want a rerun of last year’s horrors with COVID-19, therefore we will take proactive steps to prevent that from happening,” said the governor. “Priority number one, we get children back to school and protect the environment so they can learn and everyone is safe.”
Hochul announced that New York is launching a “back to school COVID-19 program” to make testing for students and staff readily available and convenient. She is also immediately directing the Department of Health to implement a universal masking mandate for anyone entering any public school in the state.
Later this week, the governor will announce a series of school-related policies that will be “concise and consistent, giving the school districts what they have been asking for.”
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