NEW YORK - The New York City Department of Education is placing dozens of educators on unpaid leave to investigate whether they tried to use fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to meet city requirements to continue working in the school system.
School spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said, "Fraudulent vaccination cards are not only illegal, they also undermine the best line of protection our schools have against COVID-19 – universal adult vaccination. We immediately moved to put these employees - fewer than 100 - on leave without pay."
The United Federation of Teachers, which represents district employees, says approximately 70 of its members were contacted by the Department of Education.
"We are reviewing appropriate legal action to potentially challenge the DOE’s unilateral action in removing these employees from payroll," the union said in a statement.
The employees in question will be put on unpaid leave starting Monday.
Some teachers say they received the notice "in error," according to the teachers union, but have not received a response when they alerted the school system's compliance department.
The union claims its members are not being given due process by facing unpaid suspensions before issues are cleared up.
"It is wholly improper for the DOE to unilaterally remove UFT members from the payroll based on mere conjecture that vaccination documentation is fraudulent," Beth Norton, general counsel at the United Federation of Teachers, wrote to the DOE.
The FDNY and the Sanitation Department have also had issues with fake vaccination cards by department employees.