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Officials in a school in New York City on Sept. 2. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

About 1 million New York City public school students returned to all in-person classes on Monday for the first time since March 2020 and under a new vaccine mandate for all city Department of Education employees.

Why it matters: Around 148,000 employees — including teachers, custodians and office staff — returning to work in the largest U.S. school district will be required to receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27 and will not have the option to submit a weekly coronavirus test instead.

New York City's public school system canceled in-person learning in November last year as the city entered its second major wave of new coronavirus cases.

By the numbers: The city today is again in the middle of a third, though minor, wave of new coronavirus cases because of the Delta variant, which spreads with greater ease than other versions of the virus.

  • The city has reported an average of 1,489 new cases, at least 66 hospitalizations and eight deaths from the virus over the last seven days, according to city data.
  • However, those figures have been slowly decreasing since the peak of the third wave, which occurred in mid-August.

Some New York City Department of Education employees disputed the vaccine mandate, and on Friday they won certain concessions.

  • The United Federation of Teachers said teachers who refuse to get vaccinated and have documented medical or religious exemptions must be offered non-classroom assignments, according to CNN.
  • Other unvaccinated school staff members would be offered unpaid leave that maintains their health coverage or be given a severance package.

The big picture: Many other school districts have struggled to consistently offer in-person learning so far this academic year, though they have looser restrictions in place.

Go deeper: Coronavirus cases up among children after start of school year

Go deeper

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.

Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Photos: Montinique Monroe and Win McNamee via Getty Images

The Education Department is investigating Texas' ban on mask mandates and its possible violation of disability rights.

Why it matters: Texas is one of several states under investigation for mask mandate bans that have impacted schools across the U.S.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to buy 500 million more Pfizer doses to share with the world — Fauci: Vaccine could be available for children 5–11 in "weeks" — Biden to get booster shot on camera.
  2. Health: Care for kidney disease plummeted in the pandemic — Manufacturers warn rapid test shortages are coming — Study: Pandemic cut U.S. life expectancy by more than 9 million years.
  3. Politics: Brazil's health minister tests positive during UN summit in N.Y. — Massachusetts State Police union sues over governor's vaccine mandate — Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home.
  4. Education: Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban — D.C. schools to require teachers, staff to receive vaccine without testing option — More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.