After Gov. Cuomo announced Friday that he was opening up Covid vaccinations to the category that includes police, firefighters and teachers starting on Monday, the Department of Education and the city’s teachers union both got to work establishing plans to get their overlapping member groups access to the vaccine.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced that the vaccines would be available for all in-person teachers starting Monday. Carranza posted a tweet on Sunday encouraging all in-person teachers to make an appointment as soon as possible by logging on to the city’s vaccine finder website.
“If you’re a school employee working remotely, please wait for further guidance,” he added.
But the process was not without snags. Gothamist reported that the DOE is relying on an honor system to determine if a teacher is teaching classes in-person. Teachers, who were confused about the guidance, were able to make vaccination appointments before realizing they were not supposed to.
“Yes, we are being told to go on the honor system of allowing in-person staff to register first. Not everyone is doing that and many made appointments before we were told that also, registering is a nightmare!” tweeted a teacher’s account with the handle @D75teacherNYC.
When DOE workers signed up for the vaccine, they were reportedly not prompted to say whether they were in-person, just to provide their employee ID.
Meanwhile, in a visit to the Queens new vaccine hub at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica early on Sunday, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew announced the union had reached an agreement with several major healthcare systems that increased priority to the vaccine for its members.
Through the arrangement, the UFT agreed to survey all its members to develop a list of those who want the vaccine immediately, and give priority to teachers providing in-person classes, according to a press release the union sent out.
“Although our agreement with the providers will make it easier for our teachers to get the vaccine, the limits on the state’s supply will mean that not everyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it immediately. Increasing the national supply will be one of the first priorities of the Biden administration,” Mulgrew said at the press conference.
Within a 24-hour period, around 17,000 teachers in New York City responded to the union’s survey to indicate that they wanted to get a Covid shot as soon as possible.
The union emailed the survey to its members Jan. 11 and has since sent the names of roughly 7,000 teachers and other educators to two partner healthcare providers, the NYU Langone hospital system and EmblemHealth, which said they had that number of vaccine doses available.
Given the limits of the supply and the provider locations, the union indicated that willingness to travel will expedite a member being matched with a provider.