New York City will require all municipal workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the time schools reopen in mid-September or face weekly testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to announce on Monday morning, according to a city official.
Mr. de Blasio’s decision would come only days after he announced a similar mandate for public health care workers — part of an effort to speed up vaccinations as the city faces a third wave of coronavirus cases driven by the spread of the Delta variant.
The new requirement would apply to roughly 340,000 city workers, including teachers and police officers. The Sept. 13 deadline, when a million students are set to return to classrooms, shows the importance of the reopening of schools for the city’s recovery and for Mr. de Blasio’s legacy.
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat in his final year in office, will reiterate his call to private employers to set vaccine mandates for their workers.
Nearly five million New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but the speed of inoculations has slowed. Two million adult New Yorkers are still unvaccinated. The number of virus cases has risen to more than 800 on average per day, more than triple the daily average in late June.
Mr. de Blasio was among the first big-city mayors to open schools for any in-person instruction last fall, and he announced in May that the city’s public schools would reopen for full-time live instruction in September, with no remote learning option. That made New York one of the first large school systems to declare a return to fully normal schooling for the coming academic year.
But parents and educators have expressed anxiety in recent weeks as the city’s average test-positivity rate has ticked up. Some parents say they are worried that the new school year will face major disruptions, as it did last year, and some teachers say they are concerned about returning to classrooms with cases rising.