On Thursday, New York City announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for workers at yeshivas, Catholic schools and other private schools. It's the Democrat-run city's latest move to force religious schools to comply with a vaccine mandate. The new directive will impact about 930 schools and over 56,000 employees in the state, city officials confirmed.

According to the New York Times, the new COVID vaccine mandate will require religious and private school workers to show proof that they received at least one dose of the shot by Dec. 20. Mayor Bill de Blasio remarked in a statement, "We're doing everything in our power to protect our students and school staff, and a mandate for nonpublic school employees will help keep our school communities and youngest New Yorkers safe."

In New York City, teachers and public school faculty and staff were already required to get the COVID vaccine and up to 95% of the Department of Education's workforce has gotten their shots. However, Mayor De Blasio refused to carry out a COVID vaccine mandate for students, who are currently still not required to get the jab to go to school.

New York is not the first to implement COVID vaccine mandates for private school workers, as California was the first to issue the requirement for employees and staff in both private and public schools in the state, with an exception that would require weekly testing. Washington implemented a stricter version of the COVID vaccine mandate that did not allow for weekly testing, but allowed for religious or medical exemptions.

Most of New York City's workers have been subjected to some form of COVID vaccine mandate, which pushed vaccination rates up. But the new requirement for religious and private school workers, which does not allow religious exemptions, was immediately opposed by some Jewish and Catholic leaders, who sent an appeal via a letter to Mayor De Blasio on Thursday.

"This is an area where government should be using its bully pulpit to persuade, not its regulatory arm to coerce," the letter from Rabbi David Zwiebel read. Zwiebel is the chairman of Agudath Israel of America, a coalition that represents several religious and independent school leaders.

Meanwhile, New York City reasoned that the new COVID vaccine mandate for religious and private school workers were in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) NBC New York reported. Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi underscored how the "health and safety of our children is paramount," which is why they've expanded the vaccine mandate to schools in the private sector.

The Diocese of Brooklyn's Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Chadzutko said in a statement however that although they hgave "placed great emphasis on getting the COVID-19 vaccine," they still maintain respect for the decision of an individual to get the jab. He remarked, "The Catholic schools and academies throughout Brooklyn and Queens today join as part of a coalition of religious and independent schools throughout New York City asking the Mayor and Health Commissioner to reconsider plans to implement a vaccine mandate."

Dr. Chadzutko said, "We have and continue to remain opposed to any such mandate. Our teachers and staff, of whom 88% are vaccinated, have shown true leadership in the battle against COVID-19."