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New York Mandate Podcast
New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 5: Teacher Jennifer

New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 5: Teacher Jennifer

“I think it’s just purely about controlling people”: A conversation with Jennifer, who resigned and moved to Tennessee in response to the vaccine mandate and other pandemic policies.

“It doesn't seem right that you're forced to make a decision and pick up and leave where you were born, where you have your job, where you have your friends, where you have your home and your whole lifestyle. . . . It doesn't make sense that, again, depending upon where you live, the rules are different. . . . I am grateful where I moved that it's free, but I left a lot behind.” - Jennifer

In this episode of the New York Mandate podcast, I talk with Jennifer, who worked as a New York City public school teacher for 20 years. She was teaching sixth-grade language arts and social studies when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Jennifer objected to the testing and remote-learning measures that were put in place at her school, as well as the anticipated vaccine mandate for teachers. She resigned from her position in September 2021, just before the mandate for all New York City Department of Education employees went into effect, and took a teaching position in Tennessee.

Jennifer talked with me about her experience teaching at the same Queens middle school over 20 years, and how things changed during the pandemic.

We also talked about why she opposed NYC’s pandemic policies, the response of her union, and her experience moving to Tennessee as a lifelong New Yorker.

Here are some links related to things we talked about during the episode:

United Federation of Teachers
The UFT is the union that represents teachers in the New York City public school system.

New York City Department of Education
The DOE manages New York City’s public school system, which is the largest in the United States.

New York Teachers for Choice
This organization of teachers and parents opposes medical mandates for employment. It was founded by New York City teacher Michael Kane.

Children’s Health Defense
This organization, founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., opposes mandatory vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine.

Announcement of NYC Department of Education Employee Vaccine Mandate
This is the August 23, 2021, announcement of the vaccine mandate for New York City Department of Education employees by then Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi.

Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination for City Employees and Certain City Contractors
This is the order that former Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued on October 20, 2021 requiring New York City municipal employees and contractors, including teachers, to be vaccinated.

Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace
This is the order that former Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued on December 13, 2021 requiring all workers in New York City who work in a workplace or interact with other workers or the public to be vaccinated.

NYC Vaccination Requirement: Workplaces
This is where you can find current information on New York City’s workplace vaccination requirements.

About the New York Mandate Podcast

The New York Mandate Podcast is an ongoing series of conversations exploring the costs and consequences of vaccine mandates in New York City. I’ll be talking with workers who have been directly affected by the mandates, as well as legal and policy experts.

In late 2021, the city introduced a series of requirements for workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. These requirements were put in place through executive orders issued by the administration of former mayor Bill de Blasio.

Current mayor Eric Adams continues to support the mandates, and they now extend to most working people in the city of New York. Private sector employers are required to affirm that their employees have been vaccinated, and public sector employees of city agencies have been terminated or put on unpaid leave for failing to comply with the vaccine requirement.

The views expressed in the New York Mandate podcast are the personal opinions of the people speaking, and are not intended to provide medical or legal advice.

Join the Conversation

Have you lost your job, been put on leave, or lost opportunities to work as an independent contractor as a result of your decision not to comply with a New York vaccine mandate? Did you take a vaccine against your wishes in order to keep your job? Please get in touch with me at

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