The city Department of Education has axed another 850 teachers and classroom aides — bringing the total to nearly 2,000 school employees fired for failure to comply with a vaccine mandate increasingly struck down in court.
About 1,300 DOE employees who took a year’s unpaid leave — with benefits — agreed to show proof of COVID vaccination by Sept. 5 or be “deemed to have voluntarily resigned.”
Of those staffers, 450 got a shot by the deadline and “are returning to their prior schools or work locations,” DOE officials told The Post. They include some 225 teachers and 135 paraprofessionals.
The 850 let go makes roughly 1,950 DOE staffers terminated since the vaccine mandate took effect on Oct. 29, 2021.
Rachelle Garcia, an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn for 15 years and mother of two, worked fully in person during the pandemic and never got sick, she said.
But she refused to get vaccinated, finally taking leave after the DOE denied her requests for a religious exemption.
“I really put my eggs in one basket, hoping and praying that at the last minute our mayor would turn everything around in time for me to go back to work,” she said.
Mayor Adams never lifted the vaccine mandate, while other cities and states are dropping such requirements due to relaxed CDC guidelines.
“I’m angry, I’m hurt, to be cast aside like I was nothing. Because I couldn’t give a proper goodbye to my students, other teachers told me they kept asking, ‘When is Ms. Garcia coming back?’ That made me cry so much.”
She is now applying for jobs on Long Island.
In all, NYC has fired more than 2,600 municipal workers not fully vaccinated, according to City Hall tallies.
But last week, a Manhattan judge ruled that an unvaccinated NYPD officer, one of the dozens terminated, can’t be fired because the city gave no explanation of why it rejected his religious exemption request.
Additional reporting by Cayla Bamberger