In-person NYC teachers outraged remote staff offered vaccine

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Big Apple public school educators who are teaching in-person classes are furious their remote counterparts were offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as them — and the city will be relying on an honor system to prioritize those working on the frontlines. 

Over the weekend, Department of Education staff were told they could schedule the highly anticipated inoculation as soon as Monday under newly-expanded state criteria — but no system was set in place to prioritize in-person workers, according to internal emails and staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

“Teachers who work in-person are all raging right now,” one DOE official said. 

“They’re all pissed because they feel they’re getting the short end of the stick in here everyday getting exposed while people are sitting home in their jammies,” the staffer seethed. 

“I just feel they should be forced to come back [after getting the vaccine]. Right now there’s many people before them that are in direct exposure that should’ve been entitled to receive the vaccine first.”

Emails obtained by The Post show the DOE told staffers to “please wait for further guidance on when to schedule your vaccination” if they’re currently working from home — either because of a medical accommodation or because their school is temporarily remote.

But the city won’t actually be able to enforce the request, an agency source said. 

While the DOE would like to prioritize in-person workers, there is little it can do to put them in separate lines from a legal standpoint. So the department is relying on an honor system, hoping people abide by the guidance, the source said. 

When DOE workers signed-up for the vaccine, they weren’t asked if they were remote and were only required to provide their employee ID, staff said. 

A health care worker prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at the South Bronx Educational Complex.
A health care worker prepares to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at the South Bronx Educational Complex.
James Keivom

One Brooklyn teacher said the request to “wait for further guidance” hasn’t stopped remote workers from signing up for the booster. 

“Remote people are already scheduling their appointments, they had the luxury of being home and were able to refresh [the page] and find appointments today,” the teacher, who works in-person, griped to The Post. 

“I am having such a hard time finding a time and a location that isn’t in f–king Guam,” the teacher said, adding that there is a “huge sense of frustration building between in-person and remote workers.” 

“I personally think it’s unfair [remote workers] can get it. They should give the option to teachers in-person first then open up to them but they have no way to regulate that once these emails were sent to all employees.” 

One administrator, who works in a high school building that’s currently remote, said they already scheduled their vaccine and haven’t received any guidance about waiting or giving up their slot.

They argued that despite being remote at the moment, they do have to go in the building to attend to issues and are being told to prepare as if they’re returning back shortly. 

“Wish I could give my spot to my mom who’s [in her 70s],” the administrator said, calling the vaccination system “not organized.”

The DOE said “employees working remotely have been directed to wait for further guidance.”

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