City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza started working from home Friday — and finally ordered all “non-essential” Department of Education administrators over the weekend to follow suit because of the coronavirus, The Post has learned.
The schools boss issued the edict to staffers at the DOE’s nerve centers — the department’s Tweed Courthouse headquarters in Lower Manhattan and a Downtown Brooklyn building on Court Street — in an e-mail Saturday evening.
The move came less than a week after Carranza canceled classes for the city’s 1.1 million public-school kids amid the deadly pandemic, although teachers were still required to go for in several days to prepare the district’s move to online education for at least the next month.
“It’s about time,” a Tweed staffer said of Carranza’s stay-at-home directive to most staffers. “No one has been happy to come in here.
“People are freaked out, and the general feeling is that this whole timeline should have been moved up a lot quicker.”
Carranza began working away from Tweed last week and will continue to remotely steer the DOE’s rollout of students’ “distance learning” and district “enrichment” childcare centers for the kids of healthcare workers, according to a rep.
Teachers and other DOE staffers have accused both Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio of putting them at heightened risk of COVID-19 exposure by failing to shutter schools with existing cases and delaying a systemwide shutdown.
The Court Street facility has had a confirmed case of the coronavirus, which has killed at least 63 people to date in the city.
Carranza’s e-mail said his new directive would help to slow the rampaging contagion among DOE staffers.
“As you know, the single most effective weapon in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing, which is best done by working from home,” Carranza wrote. “DOE has already begun to implement changes in this area, and now we must go farther.”
DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said Sunday that a limited number of DOE staffers will continue to report to the two facilities, as they are considered “essential” to basic operations.
Barbot said Carranza’s weekend order was issued in keeping with Gov. Cuomo’s dictate that all non-essential workers work from home amid the pandemic.
“We have consistently followed the state’s guidance on in-person workforce reduction beginning last week and moving to 100 percent starting tomorrow,” Barbot said. “We’re so grateful to the workforce who will continue to show up in person and remotely for our students, including teachers who completed essential work in their buildings last week to successfully train for remote learning.”
Remote learning for students is set to begin Monday.