Security crisis looms at NYC schools as vaccine deadline nears

 									Coronavirus in NY								,  									COVID vaccine								,  									department of education								,  									schools								,  									students

The officers are subject to the city’s mandate that requires all school staffers to be vaccinated by midnight on Sept. 27, 2021. Alamy Stock Photo

Department of Education buildings face an imminent security crisis next week with at least half of all school safety officers facing removal due to COVID-19 vaccine non-compliance.

Greg Floyd, the head of the school safety agents union, said that the vaccination rate for his 4,300 members could be as low as 40 percent — and that vaccinated agents are now being pressed into 12-hour shifts.

During a Friday morning press conference, Mark Cannizzaro, head of the city principals’ union, said his members are being told to expect only one agent each.

“The overwhelming majority of schools, we’ve been told, would only have one safety agent come next week,” he said. “Can you imagine an emergency evacuation drill with one safety agent?”

Floyd noted that some larger city high schools are normally staffed up to 20 agents.

“This creates a crisis and a danger to the students, faculty and the school safety agents,” Floyd said.

The officers, who operate under the purview of the NYPD, are subject to the city’s mandate that requires all school staffers to be vaccinated by midnight on Monday.

Members were sent text messages from supervisors Thursday reminding them that they would be removed from payroll if they didn’t get the shot by the deadline.

“Please share this with your partners,” the message reads.

 									Coronavirus in NY								,  									COVID vaccine								,  									department of education								,  									schools								,  									students

Mayor Bill de Blasio and School Chancellor Meisha Porter greet students at PS 25 on September 13, 2021.

Matthew McDermott

“That’s how they let us know?” Floyd said. “Through a text message? And to pass it on? What are they thinking?”

The curt communication also stated that eligible staffers would have mandatory 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shifts and that lower grade schools would only have one officer on duty.

Schools with metal detectors would be provided additional agents.

Floyd said that his union would be filing a labor complaint against the new shift requirements because the matter was not negotiated beforehand.

The unarmed agents are 90 percent black and Hispanic and 70 percent women, according to their union.

Both Cannizzaro and Floyd, along with United Federation of Teachers chief Michael Mulgrew, ripped City Hall for failing to properly prepare for staffing deficits due to the vaccine mandate.

Additional reporting by Susan Edelman

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