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Second Group of HS Principals Calls for Remote Opening

August 29, 2020 am31 12:10 am

Brooklyn were first

August 28, 2020

To: Richard Carranza, Chancellor, The New York City Department of Education

C:  Andrew Cuomo, Governor, The State of New York

Bill DeBlasio, Mayor, The City of New York

Marisol Rosales, Executive Superintendent, Manhattan

Vivian Orlen, Superintendent, Manhattan High Schools

Mark Cannizzaro, President, Council of School Supervisors & Administrators


Dear Chancellor Carranza,

With the safety of our students as our top priority, we, the undersigned principals of the Manhattan High School District (MHS), inspired by our colleagues across the city and in solidarity with our union, CSA, are compelled to ask you to reconsider the planned opening of New York City Public schools for the launch of in-person learning until we can reasonably affirm that safely returning to school buildings is possible.  Our responsibility to our students demands that we make this request.

MHS is led by Superintendent Vivian Orlen and overseen by Executive Superintendent Marisol Rosales, who have been aware of our concerns and have engaged us in continuous conversation. As high school principals, our concerns are focused on the following:  

    • Health and safety concerns:  It is our understanding that the evaluation of HVAC systems across Manhattan has been inconsistent, raising the concerns of school leaders regarding the safe occupancy of their buildings. Of the surveys that have been conducted to date, no information or data has been shared with school leaders. As a result, we are unable to respond to questions raised by our families and staffs about the safety of our buildings.  Unlike elementary schools, high school students see five or more different educators in one day which would essentially shut down an entire school when a single student tests positive for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Travel Considerations: Unique to high schools, our students travel across all five boroughs to attend our schools, which increases their risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus.  With varying COVID-19 positivity rates across the boroughs, we are concerned with risk of spread through our school communities and the larger NYC community.  Most importantly, we are concerned with our most at-risk students who are traveling to and from areas that have disproportionately been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Instructional: Many of the changes and recommendations are not educationally sound or age-appropriate responses for older students. To achieve college readiness, older students need a variety of specialized classes and flexible programming to meet their diverse needs, which is challenging given the current constraints.  The recently shared instructional guidance for remote and blended teaching has resulted in staffing concerns that negatively impact high school programming. 

We are not equipped to welcome students for in person instruction on September 10th.  As we are sure that you agree with us that in person learning is the best means for supporting student learning and growth.  We can not communicate to families or staff that our buildings are safe for teaching and learning to begin in person.  We are convinced that a full remote model for all high school students is in the best interests of all unless and until necessary evaluations of buildings have been completed and the information gathered from these evaluations is made transparent and shared with all stake communities in our communities. We will also need this time to meet our staffing needs.

Principals and educators have worked tirelessly since March to ensure that our communities are set-up for success through these extraordinary times. We strongly desire to return to our buildings to work in person; but this should only be considered when we can assure the entire school community that the buildings are safe and our students have access to an appropriate learning environment. However, we believe that in the absence of facts that would justify a return to in person learning under the current timetable is unwarranted inequitable and dangerous.


Alicia Perez-Katz, 02m411 – Baruch College Campus High School

Amber Najmi, 02m400 – High SChool for Environmental Studies 

Brooke Jackson, 02m412- NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies

Crystal Bonds, 05M692 – High School for Math, Science and Engineering

Daryl Blank, 02m600 – The High School of Fashion Industries

Derek Premo, 02m308 – LoMA

Dimitri Saliani, 02m416 – Eleanor Roosevelt HS

Doreen Y. Conwell, 03m492 – High School for Law, Advocacy, and Community Justice 

Eric Glatz, 02m298 – Pace High School 

Fausto de la Rosa, 02m500 – Unity Center for Urban Technologies

Gracie Villalona, 05m304 – Mott Hall High School

Isora Bailey, 02m376 – NYC iSchool

Karen Polsonetti, 02m392 – Manhattan Business Academy 

Keith Ryan, 02m408 – Professional Performing Arts School 

Kevin McCarthy, 04m495 – Park East High School 

Kimberly Swanson, 02m655 – Life Sciences Secondary School

Li Yan, 02m545 – High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies

Manuel Urena, 02m529 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School

Maximillian Re-Sugiura, 02m630 – Art and Design High School 

Michael Fram, 02m531 – Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts

Michael Lerner, 01m696 – Bard High School Early College

Michael Stanzione, 02m489 – HS of Economics and Finance (O2M489)

Michael Wilson, 02M437 – Hudson High School of Learning Technologies

Patricia Minaya, 02m316 – Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women

Philip Santos, 02m425 – Leadership and Public Service High School

Robert A. Gentile, 02m420 – The High School for Health Professions & Human Services

Seung Yu, 02M475 – Stuyvesant High School

Siv Boletsis, 02m427 – Manhattan Academy for Arts and Language 

Stephen M. Noonan, 03m299 – The Maxine Greene High School for Imaginative Inquiry

Watfa Shama, 02m047 – “47” The American Sign Language and English Secondary School

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 29, 2020 am31 12:49 am 12:49 am

    No true. District 5 principals did itc earlier just not publicly. I can provide documentation.

    Still powerful. Still as important.

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