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Saturday, March 5, 2022

New Rubber Rooms Pop Up Throughout NYC To Warehouse Unvaccinated Employees Who have Won medical or Religious Exemptions


                             An attendance worker leaves St. Brigid School at the end of the workday.
Helayne Seidman

The new rubber rooms are here! Evidently, there are new rented spaces holding up to 50 NYC Department of education employees each, all of whom are not vaccinated but have been granted medical or religious exemptions. When the COVID vaccine mandate ends, which it will, these employees, who won their exemptions, will be going back to their workplace.

I know there are many who were granted exemptions who are now quietly back in their classrooms.

If this doesn't sound like chaos, then I do not know what would be considered a mess. 

Why are some people getting religious exemptions and others not? I would like to know. How can the DOE terminate tenured employees without a 3020-a arbitration?

So many questions, so very few answers. 

"Curiouser and curiouser!” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.


The New York State COVID Vaccine Mandate: How Politics Played a Role

Betsy Combier

NYC teachers with vaccine exemptions are being treated like pariahs
Melissa, Klein, NY POST, March 5, 2022

They are unvaccinated and shunned.

New York City educators granted medical or religious exemptions from the required COVID-19 vaccination were mandated to report to school buildings Monday where some said they were treated like pariahs.

The teachers and other staffers who showed up at a building on Ocean Avenue in Flatbush were met with hostility from vaccinated DOE workers already at the site. The unjabbed were directed to one stairwell — forbidden to walk down the first-floor corridor where the vaccinated staff work, and forbidden from using their restroom.

Unvaccinated teachers at a Flatbush site can not use the same bathroom as vaccinated workers and instead have to share one bathroom with a single toilet that doesn’t flush properly.

Upstairs, those with exemptions made do with only a single toilet that flushed irregularly, or tiny children’s toilets, staffers told The Post. The kiddie commodes were replaced Wednesday night after they complained.

“The whole thing just reeks of discrimination and segregation. I never in my life have ever experienced something like this,” said a teacher who normally works on Staten Island and has a medical exemption for the vaccine.

The teacher, who had been working from her New Jersey home since October, says commuting to the Brooklyn site takes up to three hours one way.

A Staten Island administrator reporting to the building said the DOE also reassigned her from the regular duties she had performed from home since September to work remotely doing what she called busy work.

“I’m miserable because I’m not with children and I’m not with my teachers. I’m sitting here in a room not helping a soul. I feel like we’re being punished,” said the educator who has a medical exemption.

Unvaxxed teachers’ only other bathroom option is to make do
with children’s toilets.

Another teacher assigned to the building, a former parochial school used for several years by the DOE but largely empty recently, said she suffered a concussion Thursday after a window fell out of its frame and hit her on the head.

She said the building was dirty and, with nine other people in a room with her, it was difficult to teach her special education students remotely.

“What they’re doing to us is just disgusting,” she said.

To accommodate other teachers, the DOE rented the former St. Brigid School in the East Village from the Archdiocese of New York.

Special education teacher, Daniel Mickelsen says he usually works with autistic students but has 
instead been passing the day talking to friends or reading the bible since he’s now given little to do.
Helayne Seidman

Daniel Mickelsen, who normally works with autistic children at PS 176X in Co-Op City, said he had been given little to do and was passing the time reading his bible or calling friends.

“They just want us to report because they don’t want people to get paid at home anymore,” said Mickelsen, who has a religious exemption.

The educators at the two sites said they had been handed DOE laptops and given hotspot devices to access the internet because there was insufficient service at the locations.

A September agreement between the United Federation of Teachers and the DOE allowing for the exemptions says that those granted one would not be allowed to enter school buildings, but “may” be assigned to work at administrative offices, according to a copy of the document seen by The Post.

The DOE would not say why the educators were being assigned to work sites now or the provide the cost of renting the East Village school.

A spokesman said 300 staffers had exemptions and were working from four sites, but would not disclose the locations of the others. The department said the windows had been inspected at the Flatbush site and no issues were found.

“Per our contractual agreements, staff with approved exemptions continue serving the public in buildings that our incredible facilities teams ensured are quality working environments,” said DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer.