The city principals union warned of an acute staffing crisis in city schools next month in a scathing letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza Friday.
With school populations split up to enable social distancing, the overall number of classes will multiply as some kids learn from home and others on-site.
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators president Mark Cannizzaro asserted that principals simply don’t have enough staff to fill all of these slots.
“We applaud your administration for its focus on science during this pandemic,” Cannizzaro wrote. “We ask that you also focus on the math.”
The Department of Education issued new instructional guidelines to city principals Thursday — the same day administrators were expected to present class schedules to anxious parents.
The guidance outlined minimum live learning times for various age groups and established other curricular expectations.
Cannizzaro said the framework should have been submitted earlier and that principals are now being forced to junk their prior plans to satisfy the new guidelines.
“As school leaders process this new guidance, distributed on the very day they were required to share schedules with families, many will be forced to abandon their carefully considered plans and communicate to their superintendents that their schools simply don’t have enough staff to start the new school year,” Cannizzaro wrote.
He added that many kids who opt for remote learning won’t be taught by teachers from their school due to the staffing crunch.
Compounding the shortage, roughly 15 percent of teachers have applied for COVID-19 medical exemptions.
Cannizzaro repeated a call to delay the start of the school year to address a variety of pressing logistical concerns.
De Blasio has dug in on his plan to partially reopen school buildings next month, citing the need to restore elements of normalcy for city kids and to provide scheduling relief to working parents.
The DOE’s chief academic officer, Linda Chen, acknowledged staffing dilemmas at a Thursday press conference.
“Absolutely, the math would indicate to you that is going to be a variable that we need to solve for,” she said. “Staffing is something we are monitoring closely and we’re concerned about.”
The DOE did not immediately comment on the letter.
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