Although New York City was not mandating students to be vaccinated for COVID-19, it was mandating the shot for students who wanted to participate in most extracurricular activities, including sports. ICAN attorneys sent a letter to address this nonsensical policy. The Mayor announced that the mandate was being rescinded!
In August 2021, the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Education issued an emergency declaration requiring students participating in sports and “high risk” extracurricular activities to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Absurdly, this was despite the fact that those very same students were not required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to attend NYC schools. Perhaps recognizing the inability of the Department of Education’s to impose such an order, in September 2021, the Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued its own order adopting the Department of Education’s emergency declaration.
On September 20, 2022, ICAN, through its attorneys, sent a letter to the Department of Education, demanding it cease and desist enforcement of the declaration. The letter outlined numerous points on the invalidity of the emergency declaration, including the fact that it derived its authority from the New York “state of emergency” that Governor Kathy Hochul had permitted to lapse in September 2022 and, because the Department of Education failed to follow the correct procedures to make its emergency declaration permanent, it lapsed when New York’s state of emergency did.
Furthermore, the letter noted that the declaration purported to be based on CDC guidance but that had since changed significantly and, thus, the declaration was actually contrary to current CDC guidance which no longer differentiates between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
ICAN is happy to report that the same day that ICAN sent its letter to the Department of Education, NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced that NYC was dropping its vaccine requirement for participation in extracurricular activities. The Department of Education’s website now reflects this change stating, “Vaccination is no longer required to participate in high-risk extracurricular activities….”
ICAN will continue to challenge the state and federal actors implementing illegal and unscientific mandates by pushing back whenever we can. In the meantime, you can read ICAN’s letter to the NYC Department of Education in full here.