Health Justice

Our Health is Our Wealth


Reopening NYC schools after COVID-19 requires centering health and wellness. We need…



PPE, sanitary issues, capital investments

  • Personal Protective Equipment provided to all school-based staff and students, including cafeteria workers, SSOs and bus drivers.

  • Custodians must have proper supplies and compensation for additional work that may be needed. We stand in solidarity with the demands of all workers including Immigrant communities and essential workers who call for healthy working conditions, hazard pay and proper protective gear.

  • Basic sanitary supplies such as soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, lead and toxin-free water, sanitary napkins and toilet paper must be provided in all schools, now and in the future.

  • Free, rapid testing must be provided to all school community members including students, families, and workers, with follow up by city health officials

  • CDC guidelines for safe social distancing must be supported by school staff in all school spaces, including Classrooms, Gyms, Cafeterias, Hallways, Stairs, School buses, and at Faculty meetings.

  • Coordinated purchasing pools must be formed. Hospitals have been in a needless bidding war for PPE and other critical supplies. The state must take a central role in coordinating purchase and distribution of PPE, to ensure supplies are delivered where they are most needed, not to the schools with the most resources (NYSNA).

  • First Aid is essential. Each classroom should be equipped with an emergency first aid kit and instructions that includes materials for bloodborne and airborne pathogens.



Public Employees in Public Schools

All employees who work in or for the schools serve the public and must be full time employees of the Department of Education, not private contractors, including but not limited to Custodians, Bus Drivers, Cafeteria Workers, and School Safety Agents.

Appropriate Staffing Levels

  • Each school must have full-time, DOE employed, nurses. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) recommends “1:750 for students in the general population, 1:225 in the student populations requiring daily professional school nursing services or interventions, 1:125 in student populations with complex health care needs, and 1:1 may be necessary for individual students who require daily and continuous professional nursing services.”

  • Lift all hiring freezes on social workers to provide full-time, DOE employed clinical supports. Counselors or social workers who see mandated clients should have a caseload cap of 35 students. There should be social workers apart from those that see IEP mandates that should be 1 per 100 students for general education students (Single Shepherd model); school psychologists  (National Association of School Psychologists recommends 1 for every 500 students with IEPs), and school counselors  (American School Counselor Association recommends 1 for every 250 students) including increased budget for grief counselors. Restorative Justice coordinators at every school that focus on community building and conflict resolution. These workers will be needed to address the stresses to students and staff caused by the COVID-19 crisis.




  • Dept. of Ed. employees are disaster relief workers. Train DoE employees to run building entry and other daily health tracking procedures including temp. monitoring and virus testing.

  • Staff (not police) should be trained in threshold protocols, such as temperature checking, identification, isolation and contact tracing.

Social Justice Health Monitoring Teams

  • Expand function of School Leadership Teams to mandate regular monitoring of school health supplies and regulations. (Amend Chancellor's Regulation A655).

  • Include Students, Teachers, Parents, Cafeteria Workers, Social Workers, Psychologists, Nurses, Custodians

  • Establish district-wide health monitor groups with regular communication distributed to staff, students and families

  • The SJH Monitoring team will be responsible for monitoring the health safety measures outlined in health protocols and building integrity

  • The DOE should award employees who advocate safe conditions for themselves and their students.


INVESTIGATE failures of the NYC DoE to follow virus management protocols mandated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and the State Department of health:

  • no identification

  • no isolation

  • no contact tracing

The city must investigate what happened in March 2020 to restore trust that elected and non-elected government officials have our best interests at heart as they issue mandates that directly impact our health.


People Over Profit

The Social Determinants of Health according to the CDC are factors that underly disparities in wellness and longevity among people; they boil down to zip-code, race and class. Recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and preventing any such event from recurring requires root-cause work. That work entails making sure the Social Determinants of Health support wellness for all. Furthermore, these same factors can be said to comprise the Social Determinants of Learning. We know NYC students are not all playing on a level field. That can change. A redistribution of wealth flowing from demands put forth by these movement campaigns for justice is the answer —>


Health Justice Agenda for NYC Schools

Guiding Principles Slide Presentation Sign On