The city’s Department of Education has agreed to put 82 teachers back on payroll suspected of submitting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards pending an internal investigation, The Post has learned.
The teachers are believed to have circumvented the city’s vaccination mandate, which required every city employee to show proof of vaccination or be fired unless they obtained a religious or medical exemption. Nearly 1,000 DOE employees who refused to comply were fired.
The DOE suspended the 82 teachers without pay on April 25 after their names emerged as clients of a Long Island pediatric center accused of selling fake vaccine cards.
The nurse practitioner owner and two staff members of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare were accused of racking up $1.5 million in sales, charging adults $220 for each dose falsely listed on the card, or $440 for two doses, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
None of the teachers were arrested. Several people who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity insisted they had been vaccinated against COVID-19, but paid the cost of “detoxification treatment” to make up for any adverse reactions.
The DOE filed a lawsuit last month seeking to keep alleged cheaters suspended without pay. The United Federation of Teachers argued that it was inappropriate to do so on the basis of unproven allegations.
Last week, the DOE relented, telling exiled educators they would be put back on the city’s payroll on Sept. 6, the first day of the new school year.
“Upon your return, the DOE will conduct an internal investigation to determine if the evidence you uploaded is fraudulent,” an internal memo read.
“It’s a huge step for an agency that never admits to doing anything wrong,” said Betsy Combier, a paralegal who helps defend teachers.
Staff still cannot return to their classrooms or schools, but must sit in an isolated waiting area. They will be told where to report after September 1, the memo says.
New York Post