Results – School Re Opening Survey

The DeKalb County School District sought stakeholder input on their preferences and perspectives for learning models and hybrid options that the school district is considering for the reopening of schools. This feedback includes stakeholders’ level of comfort with social distancing and hygiene efforts, school bus transportation, employee travel, serving meals, taking students’ temperature, access to supplies, technology, and internet at home, and the use of masks at school and on the bus.

Survey Terminology

Traditional Learning is defined as a face-to-face instructional setting whereby students exhibit full-time attendance at the local school site, daily.

Distance/Remote Learning is defined as a non-site-based instructional process whereby instruction is delivered through the utilization of web-based and virtual instructional processes.

Distance/Remote Working is defined as a non-site-based process whereby employees allocate consistent and expected work products and deliverables through a virtual and digital process.

Hybrid Learning is defined as a blended instructional/school attendance model whereby students experience instructional seat-time through the combination of Traditional and Distance/Remote models in accordance with an identified rotational schedule/model.

Hybrid A/B DAY Model is described as identified student and staff populations equally dividing the days of on-site physical attendance and remote/distance attendance relative to school and work within a given week.

Traditional Model

The graph indicates the current level of comfortability that stakeholders have returning to school (parents/students) and work (employees) within a Traditional model.

The predominance of:
• parents are not currently comfortable with sending their children to school through a traditional model
• students are currently comfortable with returning to school through a traditional model
• employees are not currently comfortable with returning to work through a traditional model

Survey - Traditional Model

Distance/Remote Model

The graph indicates the current level of comfortability that stakeholders have returning to school (parents/students) and work (employees) within a Distance/Remote model.

The predominance of:
• parents are currently comfortable with their children participating in a Distance/Remote instructional model
• students are slightly less comfortable with returning to school through a Distance/Remote model
• employees are currently comfortable with returning to work through a Distance/Remote model

Survey - Distance Remote Model

Hybrid Model

The graph indicates the current level of comfortability that stakeholders have returning to school (parents/students) and work (employees) within a Hybrid model.

The predominance of:
• parents are currently comfortable with their children participating in a Hybrid instructional model
• students are comfortable with returning to school through a Hybrid model
• employees are currently comfortable with returning to work through a Hybrid model

Survey - Hybrid Model

Remote Learning: School Choice Option Parents

If the district offered a full time Remote/Distance Learning school choice option, how likely would you choose this option?

Remote Learning - School Choice Option

Supporting Documents

.pdf link icon School Re-Opening Survey – Stakeholder Input – June 2020
.pdf link icon School Re-Opening Survey_Executive Summary

133 responses to “Results – School Re Opening Survey

  1. These results are shocking, but very pleasing. Now can only hope DCSD takes the choice of its stakeholders seriously when when announcing the reopening plan on Monday.

    13
  2. A lot has happened since June. GA is number 5 in the nation in cases rising as of today. We have not even seen the results of 4th of July weekend cases yet. We did not know that summer camps–the perfect preview of what would happen in schools–would open and then quickly close when the population of campers and staff saw almost immediate spread of the virus. I would not even consider opening until after Labor Day, if even then.

    No decision can be made unless a rapid test system, no matter how flawed, is implemented. No plan is going to work without it.

    I do not know how you are going to serve those students with special needs or from homes with no internet or parents who cannot stay home. There needs to be very serious thinking about this. The BOE was elected to deal with the hardest of issues. This is it.

    In the meantime, we can hope that all residents of DeKalb take this seriously and follow, at the least, all CDC guidelines. Kids in Europe survived WWII years with major school disruptions and in the long run were not harmed by it. I believe that is why Europe has done better than we have. They still understand sacrifice, we have yet to learn.

    41
  3. Stan Jester

    Camps – Salient point – Summer camps are a good indicator of how opening schools will go. According to CNN, at least 30 confirmed cases of the virus have been identified from camps at Lake Burton and Lake Allatoona, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Not saying that’s good or bad, but it is a noteworthy datapoint. Students are obviously the lowest risk group. I imagine a lot of things have happened to our youth at camp this Summer and every Summer.

    13
  4. I understand the concerns associated with in-person learning right now, but virtual learning for young students has been a disaster. Seriously considering pulling my elementary student from Dekalb and going elsewhere if all instruction is virtual this semester. I just don’t see how young students (pre-k, kindergarten, etc.) can learn via video.

    11
  5. HS Teacher and Elem Parent

    Thank you for these results. I was curious about the outcome. To echo Dianne, this survey was available before cases started to spike. Much has changed.

    I don’t see the rush in opening either. While I want my kids to return, I know it’s not the right decision for everyone’s health, specifically the teachers and staff. Also, why is no one talking about the spread in teenagers right now?

    While I’m in favor of virtual learning for safety reasons, I’m not confident Dekalb County can deploy virtual learning in a way in which students can actually learn and where students will be held accountable. I’m confident a few teachers who already incorporate technology in the classroom will be successful, but those numbers will be low. We have not been given the tools to prepare for virtual learning, nor the time. The county can’t expect teachers who spend years developing their student-centered lesson plans to make virtual learning come together in two weeks. Plus, I know pre-planning will be wasted on meetings. How will we hold students accountable? Are we going to end up with inflated grades again? If that’s the case, there is no point in all of this, just give everyone an A right now. How are we supposed to test the students in a secure environment? We don’t have the technology to require lockdown browsers? How are we to reach the students who don’t have access or have to share devices with their siblings? So many things to consider when we reopen. Many decisions are being made by people who weren’t in the virtual classroom this spring.

    14
  6. It’ll be interesting to compare the surveys from different districts. Dekalb is divided. The choice of in-person or VL would be the case to serve all, but something is telling me the half of the county parents and students will be ignored.
    Personally I’ll see if my voice is heard (will pursue questioning the decision made by Dekalb with the Governor etc.)
    If no results follow I see that Dekalb is in danger of losing half of its students.

    4
  7. We’ve Spoken

    The parents and teachers have spoken! We are not comfortable with the traditional learning model at this time. Hopefully, the board listens to us!

    30
  8. Illiterate Elementary School Children

    The results are shocking. If Dekalb doesn’t follow the other metro Counties and offer traditional instruction 5 days a week starting in mid-August, this County is finished. Let the fire sales begin.

    3
  9. Jesus was a carpenter

    Stan,
    Some Schools and Universities are discussing employee retirement incentive packages.Do you know if DCSD is considering this?

    11
  10. DSW2Contributor

    ^ I can’t see a retirement incentive for teachers happening when we’re short 200+ teachers!

    5
  11. @Jesus Was A Carpenter, DeKalb Schools is looking for a head of HR and a head of Finance. DeKalb Schools doesn’t want to lose teachers now and probably doesn’t have the capacity to do more than keep the ship afloat right now.

    6
  12. The results I am seeing strongly favor an A/B hybrid (2 days a week) model across students, parents, and teachers in all 3 parts of the district. Over 60% favored this option across the board. So, why not offer an A/B hybrid model for those that want to return to the physical school building and offer a virtual option for those not comfortable with returning? The 20% of teachers that expressed concerns with physically returning can teach the online classes, generally speaking. Also, half of the parents have concerns with their students wearing masks (56% at the elementary level). If that is the case, then masks should be strongly recommended, but not mandated, especially at the elementary levels. Masks could be worn in common areas, like hallways, but once seated or in the classroom, can be removed, which is how I heard it was being done in another school district, but can’t remember where. Since only half the students will be attending on a hybrid schedule, social distancing is more of a possibility. Over 40% of Dekalb parents said they would not choose a full VL model if Dekalb offered it. I know I would pull my elementary student and homeschool if VL is the only option or if masks are mandated for 6+hours. If we lose these students to private schools or homeschooling, how will that affect Dekalb’s FTE numbers and funding?

    4
  13. @Dekalb Mom

    Here is how GWINNETT COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS doing safety protocol for in-person (your comment about masks totally makes sense)

    In-Person Option
    What to expect at school in the fall…

    Families should self-screen at home. It is recommended that families take temperatures daily before going to school. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 F or higher should not go to a school site. Students and adults also should screen themselves for respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath prior to coming to school each day.
    Periodic screenings, including random temperature checks, will be conducted. Students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature of 100.4+ will be isolated immediately and sent home.
    All students and employees must stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive, or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
    For those who are ill, health dept. guidelines will be followed for return to school/work.
    Frequent handwashing encouraged, with breaks for scheduled handwashing at ES level. We also will recommend bringing hand sanitizer from home.
    Cleaning/disinfecting of buildings, surfaces, and high-touch objects will be done more frequently. Ventilation systems will be monitored for proper operation.
    Buses will be cleaned/disinfected after morning/afternoon routes.
    GCPS is asking those who attend and/or work at its schools— as well as those who drive buses and work in other GCPS facilities— to wear a face covering or mask to minimize the spread of illness, and keep students and staff members safe. A lower incidence of illness also will contribute to schools being able to return to normal operations. If a student is not willing to wear a mask or face covering, he or she should consider digital learning. Accommodations will be made for students or employees unable to wear a mask for documented health reasons.
    The use of masks can be a challenge for some children and adults, so it will not be required. However, the wearing of masks will be encouraged for those who can.
    Schools will limit visitors; serve meals in classrooms; stagger lunch, playground, and class-change schedules; and hold meetings/events virtually as possible.
    Where feasible, rooms will be arranged with student desks facing the same direction and students seated at tables will sit on the same side.
    Students will be discouraged from sharing books, materials, supplies, or equipment, including devices and equipment used for athletics/PE.
    Cleaning/disinfecting protocols will be used in computer labs, media centers, and athletic facilities.
    Cafeteria keypads will be replaced with a barcode scanning system.
    Water fountains will be closed. Students will be encouraged to bring water from home.

    6
  14. Masks must be mandatory

    Masks need to be mandatory, period. Returning to school with any sense of normalcy will require that all students and staff wear masks at all times. If you or your child have a problem with that, then it’s probably best they stay home. I don’t want my kids to get sick or bring the virus home because one parent chooses to disregard everyone’s health.

    35
  15. Masks must be mandatory

    Stan,
    She’s absolutely correct, which is why I voted for my kids to do virtual learning. However, if DeKalb makes students go back they need to make masks mandatory. Adults can’t even keep their masks on and wash their hands properly, so I know kids will have a hard time. That’s why I’ve been making my kids practice at home. It’s the parents’ responsibility to teach our kids how to do this. Teachers will already have enough on their plates so parents need to step up and help. We can’t expect schools to open fully, teach the kids, AND train them on proper hygiene and mask-wearing. We have to be responsible for our own children at some point.

    30
  16. “The use of masks can be a challenge for some children and adults, so it will not be required. However, the wearing of masks will be encouraged for those who can.”

    Huh? What? Is this for real? I don’t let anyone inside of my bubble without a mask unless they live in my house. If districts are allowing parents to choose to send their kids to school in a traditional setting, then the LEAST they can do for the people who are tasked with teaching and protecting children and minimize their fears is by requiring a mask for ANYONE stepping foot inside of the building. I didn’t spend the last 5 months following CDC guidelines for someone to give others the option of wearing a mask when returning to a traditional setting or a hybrid schedule. I just can’t go for that. No mask, fine, but be kind and respectful enough to stay out of my bubble and learn online!

    37
  17. Concerned Citizen 95

    Good Afternoon Mr. Jester,
    I was curious, is it possible to use the public access channel to show recorded lessons that students could tune into and watch from home? I don’t know how much it would cost, or if that would be too expensive, but just curious if it’s an option? Thank you for all your hard work.

    5
  18. The fact that the children are quite comfortable with returning to the traditional model, and the parents and the staff are resoundingly opposed points out that there will be a lot of conflicts getting the students to treat the pandemic sanitation needs seriously in a school setting.

    19
  19. The DCSD board meeting is 100% virtual online. Tells me what I need to know.

    34
  20. If a student threatens another person’s health in any other year (threats, hitting, etc), there is a consequence.

    If a student refused to wear a mask, thereby threatening the health of others, use those same consequences.

    19
  21. I agree that DCSD should offer a 100% virtual learning option for those parents who want it, and traditional for those who want that (with masks absolutely required). I was surprised to see how many parents do in fact want 100% VL. If half of the parents really would choose VL, that would make social distancing much easier for those attending in-person. Perhaps they wouldn’t even need to split the in-person students into A/B attendance – that would be a much better outcome for students who benefit from in-person attendance to not be limited to only two days of it per week. This would also be much easier for teachers to just focus on either in person or VL instruction, rather than the hybrid format where they have to teach half their students in person and the other half online simultaneously, four days a week.

    8
  22. Thank you for posting this Stan. I wish we had been asked what our preference was rather than being asked how comfortable we are with each model. The questions of whether I am comfortable with a particular model is important but treating that question as the same as what I (or anyone would prefer) seems to be a false representation. Thanks again for keeping us in the loop and getting these results.

    12
  23. I do think that DCSD needs to get on the ball right now to check all HVAC systems and bathroom sinks in the schools and make all necessary repairs, filter replacements, etc. to ensure they are all working properly before the buildings reopen.

    18
  24. Vanessa Thompson

    2000 parents are not willing to do a temp check each morning? Wow…
    And there in lies the rub

    2
  25. Ben Greenwald

    I didn’t see it in the results you shared but was the question asked as to which option each respondent preferred? I can be “comfortable” with all options presented while having a strong preference for one of the options.

    4
  26. DeKalb Mom is correct, although they should have started in April.

    Stan, why did Tyson keep all maintenance staff out of schools for THREE WEEKS after we knew we weren’t going back? That is time lost which could have been spent addressing the deficiencies. Most student bathrooms don’t have hot water. How long do you think students will wash their hands for in cold water?

    Is the district going to shut a school down when there is no HVAC in half of a school, or only one wing. We can’t have students sitting in classrooms without ventilation and doubling up should be out of the question. Are half of the students from a school going to go home?

    The options offered in the survey reflected very limited and simplistic thinking. Not surprising, but disappointing. I recommend delaying the start of school until after Labor Day and redoing the survey with more options.

    15
  27. Agree, that the way the questions were asked is deceiving.

    5
  28. Working Parents

    What will parents who work do if children are locked out of school 3 days a week? Should parents quit their jobs or take a leave of absence? What does the Equity Warrior suggest?

    3
  29. @Kirk Lunde

    “I recommend delaying the start of school until after Labor Day and redoing the survey with more options”.

    In strong support with this proposal! ”

    Less likely, slightly likely, moderately likely etc.” were introduced to defer the votes from one or another point.

    From this survey one can just compare Extremely likely votes, all the rest were not sure what they want( from the way the questions were asked)

    3
  30. Dear Stan

    Thank you for your willingness to share with everyone. You will be missed. I agree with Kirk. Schools need to dealy opening. Clayton, Cobb and Gwinnett are all planning to open later than orginally planned. Gwinnett sent information to parents this week. One thing that was mentioned that the later start date would also provide additional time for teachers to plan. Reviewing IEP’s was also mentioned as something that could be done during the extra planning time for teachers. I am glad that DeKalb’s BOE is meeting to make decisions about opening schools. Everyone needs to make plans. It is hard to do that without knowing the opening date and the model that DeKalb is selecting. No plan is going to please everyone. But at least people will be abled to make an informed decisions based on the needs of their individual needs.

    1
  31. @ DekalbMom,
    Saying that half the parents want traditional and half want face to face doesn’t necessarily work out that way in individual school buildings. If the half that want traditional live on the east side of the county and the west side want virtual, you then have buildings full of students that can’t social distance on the east side and students on the west side get to have super small class sizes. And that creates an unintended inequity, which is highly likely in a county like Dekalb.

    8
  32. DeKalb has never pulled off a well written survey that elicits data that is meaningful. Unlikely anyone on staff has training on how to write a good survey.

    @Stan: Isn’t DCSD also looking for a new CIO? Seems Mr. Brown has left after 8 months at DCSD, right? As we look to a semester that likely includes some, if not all, distance learning (and the unresolved issue of lack of technology and internet access for a large number of students, we have no experienced IT person in the top seat. The teachers and those of us with students will suffer the consequences of an IT dept that has struggled to catch up for years.

    This is the perfect chance to delay school until after Labor Day to get a sound plan in order.

    7
  33. dekalbteacher

    For the people who seem to think children can’t wear masks, can you explain why?

    Do we only encourage parents to put their children in car seats, and then tell the children if you’re not comfortable, you can get out of them? Does the state only encourage helmets for children bicycling? Does Six Flags only encourage children to sit and have ride straps fastened? When your child plays a sport, is he or she only encouraged to wear the uniform and sports gear because they get too hot or they can’t figure out how to put on a shin guard or protective wear? When your child gets on a boat, do you only encourage a life vest because they don’t like wearing them? When your child needs braces, do you only encourage him or her to get them because they’re too uncomfortable and they won’t be able to manage them? When your children ride in a car, are they only encouraged to use the seat belts?

    Please stop pretending that children can’t learn to wear masks. Sure, some will need help, and many may not like them for a while. But to pretend that children don’t have the ability to do this is not only illogical but also dangerous for everyone around or in rooms with those children (until research indicates that children don’t get Covid and/or can’t transmit it in confined spaces with little to not proper ventilation).

    26
  34. The entire article posted by @DSW2Contributor is a good read however I wanted to share the following paragraphs from it for those wanting a gist of the article:

    “Local school leaders, public health experts, educators and parents must be at the center of decisions about how and when to reopen schools, taking into account the spread of COVID-19 in their communities and the capacities of school districts to adapt safety protocols to make in-person learning safe and feasible. For instance, schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgment of local experts. A one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate for return to school decisions.

    “Reopening schools in a way that maximizes safety, learning, and the well-being of children, teachers, and staff will clearly require substantial new investments in our schools and campuses. We call on Congress and the administration to provide the federal resources needed to ensure that inadequate funding does not stand in the way of safely educating and caring for children in our schools. Withholding funding from schools that do not open in person fulltime would be a misguided approach, putting already financially strapped schools in an impossible position that would threaten the health of students and teachers.”

    DeKalb is not in this alone. We need to listen and learn from school districts around the GA and the country to develop flexible strategies for opening schools. As it has been mentioned MANY times, everyone will not be happy with what will ultimately be decided. Solutions that will have the least impact on the health and welfare of students and staff while providing the best learning environment and opportunities for students and teachers must be considered. Those ideas won’t necessarily come for the Central Office and Board but can come from citizens suggesting ‘out of the box’ alternatives. We all have a stake in this.

    5
  35. It’s interesting how the county is going to address the absence of the Internet availability of the 15% of students, parents, and teachers in case of VL or Hybrid learning.

    2
  36. @John Hope

    Completely disagree with that article. I do support the funding withholding from schools that do not open in person full time, those funds will go to students instead of schools (per President’s suggestion). If the school district refuses to provide equal opportunities to education then the funds must be withhold.

    3
  37. Enough Already

    This is insane. School age children are at the ABSOLUTE lowest risk for contraction AND transmission of Covid to adults. What are they at high risk for? Suicide, drug and alcohol use and not to mention those who depend on schools to be fed each day. The impact if these children DO NOT get back into schools will be detrimental at best. Kids need to learn and grow in a social environment unless they are used to being homeschooled. This is NOT a second wave. Tests are being counted – NOT cases. If one person tests positive 5 times – EVERY one of those tests are counted. If you are in the hospital for a knee replacement and test positive (everyone for elective surgeries are tested) then you ARE COUNTED as being hospitalized FOR COVID!! The suicide rate is up 600%. 40 MILLION Americans are jobless. STOP THIS INSANITY AND LET OUR KIDS GO BACK TO SCHOOL!

    3
  38. DSW2Contributor

    4,484 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the state during the last 24 hours according to the Georgia Dept of Health as of 7/10/2020, 2:50:07 PM.:
    https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

    Dekalb County now has 7,973 confirmed cases, 177 deaths and 1,059 hospitalizations. The rate is now up to 1,005.23 cases per 100K population.

    3
  39. @dekalbteacher
    That’s why

    Dr. Hamilton says a cloth mask will not prevent you from breathing in respiratory droplets that carry a virus, like COVID-19.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/face-masks-wont-help-avoid-illness-so-why-wear-them-mental-health#we-fear-unknown-risks-1

    So why do so many people want to cover up their faces if it doesn’t help? It actually has more to do with their mental health than their physical health.

    We grow comfortable with the risks we take on a regular basis. Perhaps you drive your car every day. You likely don’t feel scared when you get behind the wheel. You might even reply to text messages occasionally or forget to buckle up when driving.

    But according to statistics, driving a car is a big risk. You have about a one in 103 chance of dying in a car crash. It just doesn’t feel scary because it’s a familiar risk you take.

    The coronavirus isn’t familiar. So you’re uncomfortable with the risk of contracting it, and possibly dying from it. You likely have a bigger fear of it than of crashing your car.

    Media consumption also fuels fears. Whether scrolling through social media or flipping through channels, reports about death tolls and the speed at which coronavirus is spreading are everywhere. The more content consumed, the more likely you are to overestimate chances of contracting the coronavirus — and the more likely your anxiety levels will skyrocket.

    When we feel anxious about something, we become desperate to gain some sense of control over the situation.

    It’s a phenomenon psychologists call the “illusion of control.” And research shows we often make strange decisions based on our perceived level of control.

    For example, research shows most people think they are less likely to get into an accident when driving a car, as opposed to being the passenger. Being in the driver’s seat makes people think they can prevent accidents — even though it doesn’t really guarantee this at all.

    Similarly, studies also show that people think they have a better chance of winning the lottery when they pick their own numbers, as opposed to allowing the computer to pick for them. Even though the numbers are drawn randomly, people are more likely to assume that having more control (picking their own numbers) increases their chances of success.

    When it comes to the coronavirus, most of us likely feel we have little control over whether we contract it. And little is known about what might happen if we get it.

    Wearing a face mask is one way to convince ourselves that we have some control over it. We tell ourselves, “Wearing this mask decreases my chances of getting sick.” This, in turn, reduces our anxiety.

    Rather than idly waiting for something bad to happen, we feel better if we take some sort of action. Even if the action isn’t helpful, we have a way of fooling ourselves into believing that our behavior has control over the outcome.

    We overcompensate when safeguards are in place
    woman driving
    Drivers speed more when they are wearing safe belts. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images
    Interestingly, research also reveals the tendency to overcompensate when there are “safeguards” in place. Studies have shown that people are more likely to speed when wearing seatbelts.

    And insurance companies have even discovered that drivers actually become more reckless when there are more safety features on a car.

    This mentality may be one reason why so many people wearing face masks could even be detrimental in certain ways. They have convinced themselves that their face masks will protect them. So rather than reducing contact with the public as is suggested, people who are wearing face masks may actually become more likely to travel or interact with people.

    5
  40. @DSW2Contributor

    Will you be interested in comparison of Dekalb with other counties which open schools for in-person? Their numbers are higher. I do understand you point of fear mongering, but it doesn’t work on everybody.

    1
  41. We’ve Spoken

    The survey questions weren’t misleading, some of you just don’t like the results. You can’t move the goal post just because you don’t get your way. Grow up, and prepare for whatever decision the board makes based on what the *majority* of parents and teachers prefer.

    10
  42. Stan Jester

    Data point: The World Health Organization says healthy people should not wear face masks – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagrees.

    2
  43. @We’ve Spoken

    It’s not one way or another, Dekalb Schools must satisfy all points of view, especially if there is a way to do so with combination of in-person or VL. I think your approach in less mature… which translates “My way only, do what I want only”

    2
  44. dekalbteacher

    Concerned,

    You didn’t answer my question. Instead, you changed the subject. I couldn’t care less what you or I think or feel about wearing masks. Doctors and scientists have not encouraged mask wearing to protect ourselves from the virus but to try to prevent spreading the virus. Our state’s re-opening plan requires masks be worn by employees in restaurants or stylists and clients in salons to prevent the spread of the virus. Big difference. One that matters for all of us whether we “feel” like the virus is innocuous for most or we “feel” better not wearing a mask.

    I do appreciate the irony of your pointing out the “illusion of control.” That’s what our president is doing when he pretends states can manage this pandemic independently or he can just demand that schools open. That’s what you’re doing by pretending that Covid isn’t a world-wide pandemic that can be pseudo-analyzed away. If that’s the way you cope with this and it keeps you and your family healthy while not endangering the lives of others, that’s good.

    21
  45. Vanessa Thompson

    @AB…regarding lack of experienced IT Head:
    This a department of DCSD’s Friends and Family Plan…promotion based on who you know, not what you know. It’s sad that this huge system isn’t up to speed on technology. District level employees are 12 month. Why has there been no teacher training this summer for Virtual Teaching ? And it could be virtual!
    How many WBBC coordinators are former principals who were removed from schools for incompetence or public out cry?

    10
  46. We’ve Spoken

    Immaturity is threatening to contact the governor because you don’t get your way. I’m 100% certain that if the survey results were what you wanted you’d be telling everyone else to suck it up. Fortunately, other parents like myself are actually taking this virus seriously and have no problem keeping our kids home a little longer for their safety and the safety of others. Stan, I think it’s irresponsible to even have a debate about masks when asymptomatic people can still spread the virus. I’m healthy but I wear a mask in public to protect others in case I happen to pick the virus up somewhere. I make sure my kids wear them too. Has this country really gone so far down the drain that we can’t even be considerate of the health of our fellow citizens? Sad times.

    23
  47. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^^^^@Concerned – Yes, there are many other counties around the state who plan to open as normal despite having much higher infection rates than Dekalb.

    I’m praying for them. There but for the grace of God go I.

    4
  48. @dekalbteacher

    I’m sorry that you weren’t able to get my message. Will try to paraphrase it.
    In your post you suggested that all stakeholders who voted for in-person education need to grow up and accept your point of view only. In my reply I pointed out that your way of thinking is less mature in my opinion and explained why: you want to push your preference of the way of education on everybody else. But in fact there is a strategy to serve both camps of stakeholders: two track education in-person and VL.
    I really don’t understand why you make me to educate my child your way. You prefer VL-great, let’s do it for you. Provide me with the opportunity of in-person education as well. Win win for all.
    You way of thinking is more childish, because it implies just doing what you want me to do.

    2
  49. Dekalb Parent

    @StanJester-WHO actually does recommend the use of face masks for the general public in spaces with poor ventilation and where six feet of distance cannot be maintained. This would certainly be the case for most school buildings. A mandate of masks seems imperative for schools to open successfully.

    “Does WHO advise the use of non-medical, fabric masks in the general public?
    WHO recommends that people always consult local authorities on recommended practices in their area.
    If there is widespread community transmission, and especially in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, governments should encourage the general public to wear a fabric mask. WHO also provides details on the composition of a fabric mask and how to safely wear one.“
    https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-and-masks

    9
  50. @DSW2Contributor

    I don’t think someone in those counties wants your prayers, since everybody was given a choice to decide what is best for their families. Democratic and rational way of thinking: scared to death or other valid reasons like health risks in the family (stay home do VL) ready to move on with life: do in-person education safely. Very simple and straightforward.

    3
  51. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^^^ @Stan, the WHO said to not wear *medical* grade masks because those are needed in hospitals and medical offices while the CDC is says we should wear non-medical facial coverings.

    3
  52. @We’ve Spoken

    In no way I would be telling everybody to suck it up. I am asking the county to provide VL for you. YES.
    But along with in-person education for my kids. I wasn’t threatening anybody to contact the Governor, I was thinking out loud what my further options were. The people who are pushing VL are not easy to get scared. I wish I could “scare” them:)

    2
  53. Stan, thanks for sharing this info. I’ll miss this blog. 3 important points:

    1) I’m shocked that someone on our school board believes WHO doesn’t recommend masks. You need to educate yourself, pronto. You can’t make a reasoned decision if you don’t stay up-to-date. Not only does WHO recommend masks, they recommend more than the 2-layer mask you’ve probably heard about. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jun/9/world-health-organization-recommends-using-3-layer/

    2) Hybrid is the worst of both worlds, exposing everyone. Our best bet is to allow parents to choose and hope that the majority choose virtual learning. The more who stay home, the better chance the schools will have to maintain distance/safety for those who come in and the fewer people we’ll have in circulation as possible spreaders/infected.

    3) Virtual isn’t great for learning, but slowed learning is a negative that pales next to the negative of spreading a deadly plague. People can catch up on learning later … but not if they’re dead (or emotionally destroyed by the knowledge of having spread a disease that killed their family). We need to recognize that we cannot have schooling be normal and fine this fall. Being realistic means we have to be patient and meanwhile choose the least bad option for the coming year — not tell ourselves that we can have everything fine and normal this fall. That’s a pipe dream. We will likely have a vaccine in another year but we don’t have one now. Having sub-optimal schooling for a year won’t kill us.

    20
  54. We’ve Spoken

    APS is completely virtual until October. Smart move.

    34
  55. dekalbteacher

    Stan,

    The WHO says the public should be encouraged to use medical and non-medical masks in areas with known or suspected community transmission because of the potential benefit for source control. Our metro area hospital ICUs are near full and the Convention Center is being re-opened, so masks seem like a good idea for everyone.

    Concerned,

    I’m not sure why you think I think people need to accept my view. In dealing with any health issue, I defer to the experts. I actually support students attending some in-person schooling in small groups that rely primarily on open and outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, the only things I’ve seen like that are people in my neighborhood starting these. The state and district discussions seem to focus on some artificial binary that forces us to go to the school we know with hand sanitizer, gloves, and hope or stay home with a computer or paper packets. There are many more possibilities, but that kind of planning requires people to accept the fact that school won’t be the same this year and it requires those in charge to plan. Neither seems to be happening.

    6
  56. @dekalbteacher

    “I’m not sure why you think I think people need to accept my view.” Don’t you advocate for VL education in Dekalb only?

    2
  57. As for masks, let’s get real people, just think at least ones for yourself (there are a lot of “experts” out there) Just remember your school course of biology: what virus is and its size. Thinking that a mask (not N95) will give you any protection is the same concept as thinking that fence will prevent mosquitoes from coming to your backyard.

    3
  58. So I have little faith in school cleanliness when my kids’ elementary school NEVER, I repeat NEVER had soap available in student bathrooms pre-covid.

    12
  59. down the rabbit hole

    Here’s hoping we don’t follow APS. What a cluster…

    In person or virtual. Easy.

    3
  60. The school board has posted a proposed calendar in the meeting documents. The student start date has been pushed to August 17th and school ends June 4th. Teachers are given one week for planning and preparation.

    This is not enough time to adequately prepare for the start of school with the new guidelines. Teacher’s need at least two weeks to plan and be trained as a staff.

    I applaud Atlanta and Rockdale for having re-opening plans that make sense.

    12
  61. Biased and Outdated Survey

    Thank you for sharing these, but in my opinion the results are all-but-useless if taken at face value. As has been noted above, we have received additional information in the last month that likely makes regular school seem a little “scarier” to a significant number of people. But there is also inherent sample bias in the survey given that families with easy access to internet and fewer/more flexible work hours were more likely to take it, and more likely to “need” in person school.

  62. Clearly, this is not going to be a one-size-fits-all type of solution. As someone pointed out, the survey does not distinguish how stakeholders voted by region. We all know that there are significant differences in the resources available at the schools. One school may have a high percentage of their students who have the necessary items needed for VL, whereas another school might not. Also, some schools could be staffed with more teachers who fit into a high-risk category and therefore, face-to-face instruction could put these individuals at risk. Some schools may have a good portion of their parents who work from home, have flexible hours or who are stay-at-home parents who are able assist their children with instruction. I know we all want what is BEST for everyone. However, I do not think that imposing a universal model for reopening will take into account the variables that are at each school. I feel we need to narrow our view and look at each individual school and if that is too small, maybe winnow it out to each cluster. The leaders in the District office as well as the Board members have no real idea about what goes on inside of a school. They do not know the the capabilities and strengths of the staff members, students or parents. They peer in the window at best, but they do not know the interconnectedness of all the parts and which parts need more oil than others. The actual people who make up the community of each school understand the needs of the staff, parents and stakeholders. These are the people who should be involved in the decision-making. I know I do not want anyone making a decision about the school where I work when they do not know anything about me or the community members that I serve. I am all for defunding the District office and putting those resources into the schools.
    Whatever the method used, I hope that the decision makers take all factors into account so that the solution fair and equitable for all and not just some.

    4
  63. Demographics

    Wish more parents filled out the survey.

    See, I told you APS would go like the other predominantly minority school systems have. Just waiting on the edge of my seat to see if City of Decatur breaks the trend.

    On Friday, the Atlanta Council of PTAs recommended the district delay the start of the school year and also urged APS to focus on digital learning. In a written statement, the council said that the district’s many low-income families are concerned about the health of grandparents who serve as caregivers and the cost of healthcare should someone in the family get sick.

    Yep, prioritizing low income families concerns over others. Yet, they are the most vulnerable to fall behind. The irony. But they have childcare, grandparents, so no problems with VL- until they see how far behind their children are.

    Brookhaven and Dunwoody truly need their own school systems, if only it was legal.

    3
  64. Concerned teacher

    When I completed the survey, I was fairly excited about the hybrid model. I thought what Dr. Beaseley was proposing for Clayton made a lot of sense. However, that was when I thought cases in DeKalb were on the decline, or at least leveling off. Now, we know that our numbers are continuing to rise.

    Whether you offer retirement incentives or not, my colleagues who have the right years/age are alrrady talking to TRS about their options. I’m sure you’ve already seen a number if teachers put in for retirement, and you are likely to see more if traditional or hybrid takes effect in the near future. Additionally, some teachers are looking into FMLA or disability options.

    I’m glad to see that Savannah-Chatham & Atlanta PS have committed to starting the year online. I hope DCSD follows suit.

    16
  65. Dunwoody Diva

    It will be interesting to see if DeKalb has a comprehensive plan for the upcoming school year as Cobb came out with this afternoon.
    Whether you agree or disagree with it at least it is thorough and answers some questions.
    They said over 100 educators spent the summer putting this together.
    What has the DeKalb administration been doing all summer??
    https://www.cobblearningeverywhere.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-2021-Reopening-Plan.pdf

    6
  66. @Think could you post the link to the document showing an Aug 17 to June 4 school year?

  67. The just-released APS plan looks MUCH more promising that what is leaking out. Start online, read how things are going. Give teachers three weeks of preplanning to prepare for online, so they can actually work out plans.

    As a teacher, that is much closer to what I think is best for the students and staff, and what is safe and reasonable.

    19
  68. Public School Fan

    Hi everybody,

    I’ve always appreciated reading everyone’s comments and would like to thank Stan for the listening and for giving the community an opportunity to dialogue through this blog. Thanks also for your commitment out in front since 2014; people like you, Marshall and Ramona have been there a long time to pay it forward for the kids. Your service will be missed no doubt as will the accountable leadership and dependability.

    A few points:

    1-Remember these surveys were taken between June 9 and June 21st; at that time the highest date of cases in Georgia registered was 1,800-Today we continued an upward trend and recorded another high with 4484 new cases in the last 24 hours. I suspect some of those surveyed might change based on the information they ascertained as of writing this July 10. As is, the surveys show basically a 4 point difference in parents polled as far as the comfortability with the hybrid model versus distance learning. (61.42 hybrid/57.31 remote). Is a 4 point discrepancy there worth the risk of reopening based on what we know now with face to face instruction? I also suspect if we could give that survey again then the numbers would skew further towards those in favor of distance learning. Teachers polled were about 3 points more comfortable with distance over hybrid as well. NPR just reported that the American Academy of Pediatrics walked back support for in-person school today as a result of current conditions. Atlanta Public Schools just announced 9 weeks of distance learning minutes ago and Atlanta’s Mayor just issued a stay at home order. The World Health Organization just acknowledged that airborne transmission of covid is possible, especially in poorly ventilated buildings.

    2-Hybrid is face to face instruction and is definitely a tough ask to say the least. The variables of inside exposure beyond 15 minutes, buildings not conducive to social distancing even at 30/50% capacity and poor ventilation are challenging before you factor in student behavior amongst other things. The demographics under FactChecker from late 2019 also show that many schools are well over capacity; there may be modulars (trailers) that house the overflow in those buildings but that would definitely exacerbate the already unrealistic challenges of doing hybrid safely as well.

    3-Virtual Learning can be much better this go around. Teachers will get valuable training in staff development to enhance their instructional repertoire before the school year. Accountability measures that clearly define expectations can happen beforehand this time since schools will have preparatory time that they didn’t have when all this fell into their laps March 13. (Attendance taken, grades that count, etcetera)

    I’m cautiously optimistic that our leadership will opt for a safe plan Monday (start with distance learning) that avoids creating lots of opportunities for contacts in precarious environments based on the current health situation.

    24
  69. Proposed amended 20-21 calendar:

    Agenda item 5c: Approval of the DeKalb County School District FY21 Amended Calendar (added 07.10.2020)

    https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=1169367&MID=86152

    6
  70. @think – thanks!

    2
  71. Wear a mask

    @Demographics are you speaking of the City of Decatur that just mandated the wearing of face masks?

    3
  72. Please notice in the new calendar that teachers will only have the usual 1 week of preplanning before school starts. That is not enough time to give teachers more instruction on virtual learning. The new calendar still contains 180 days of school (the last day is now June 4). Maybe they didn’t give teachers extra preplanning days because the budget contains up to 10 furlough days for school personnel (which would leave us at 170 instruction days). The Board needs to consider adding a few more preplanning days if they intend to start with virtual learning.

    11
  73. Love teaching

    @concerned,
    I’m a Gwinnett County Public Schools parent and they updated return to school on July 7th. Everyone is required to wear a mask. New school start date is August 12th. Those where the two updates sent to parents via email on Tuesday.
    Not sure which direction Dekalb is going. I’m sure the new superintendent is working with everyone to make sure all are safe and students are learning.

    3
  74. That calendar is so bad. They delay school opening and don’t give teachers anymore time to plan. This is going to be a whole new world for everyone. Teachers will need time to get adjusted to the millions of new rules and lessons and other silliness they will drop on us that first week. We will have to prepare to go fully online and be in person because you know eventually this will be all virtual learning. It’s like this calendar is designed to make this school year fail. I want to do good for my students – this calendar won’t allow that at all.

    In case that seems weird to you – as a teacher I would plan now if I could – but I don’t know the rules of the game or what to plan for. It’s like the time they dropped a new curriculum on us 4 days before school started. Set us up for success and we will succeed.

    20
  75. @Love teaching

    So envious of your district that you are providing the option of in-person education! Way to go Gwinnett and all the other counties which are opening its doors to students!

    2
  76. @Demographics

    There is definitely a trend that VL is pushed on counties with the predominance of minority students. People branding in the making. Shocking!

    3
  77. ConcernedToo

    @concerned, a recent study found, “the efficacy of surgical masks to reduce coronavirus detection and viral copies in large respiratory droplets and in aerosols. This has important implications for control of COVID-19, suggesting that surgical face masks could be used by ill people to reduce onward transmission.” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2
    While masks are not full proof, and may not entirely protect people, they certainly do offer some help, and they definitely do not hurt the odds of curbing the spread. The test was performed on symptomatic subjects. I would imagine the efficacy would likely apply to asymptomatic people as well.

    5
  78. @ConcernedToo

    “While masks are not full proof, and may not entirely protect people, they certainly do offer some help”

    I’ve posted the article on illusion of control. If it makes you feel better, I’m not discouraging you from wearing one.

    And masks can hurt: they can cause faintness, asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen in your body, especially if one wears it for a prolonged time. Wearing a mask increases the chances you touching your face all the time too and infecting yourself from the touched objects. Moreover, your eyes are not protected when you wear a mask, so it’s all mental…

    2
  79. ConcernedToo

    @Concerned,
    I viewed your article. My post was scientific evidence showing mask do in fact help. It’s not just an illusion if it really works. The coronavirus is a physical health problem. I will listen to these voices before listening to a psychotherapist’s.

    WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
    Nancy H. L. Leung, Daniel K. W. Chu, Eunice Y. C. Shiu, Benien J. P. Hau, Hui-Ling Yen, Dennis K. M. Ip, J. S. Malik Peiris, Wing-Hong Seto, Gabriel M. Leung & Benjamin J. Cowling

    Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
    Kwok-Hung Chan

    Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    James J. McDevitt

    Department of Surgery, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China
    Benien J. P. Hau

    Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
    Yuguo Li

    Department of Pathology, Hong Kong Baptist Hospital, Hong Kong, China
    Wing-Hong Seto

    Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
    Donald K. Milton

    7
  80. Concerned Educator

    Back in March, schools closed when the numbers were relatively low in an effort to keep everyone safe and to ensure the hospitals did not reach full capacity. For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would think going back into a school building when there were over 4,400 new cases of this virus just yesterday! Tell me how that makes sense? What do you think the numbers will look like if schools open next month? Colleges have canceled sports, homecoming, and some have decided to be virtual all year. Surely our children in DCSD are worth the same protection and consideration.

    I understand some parents are tired of their kids being at home. I understand some may have childcare issues. However, schools are not merely daycare centers. Months ago, teachers were applauded on social media once parents realized how difficult a job teaching really is. What happened to that level of concern and respect for the educators? It seems like no one is really talking about the possibility of an outbreak or spread among the adults in the buidling. Has anyone considered what will likely happen if educators go back into the school building?

    Someone will eventually either be diagnosed or exposed to covid in just about every classroom. Then what? That entire class has to quarantine at home right? If a teacher is exposed outside of school and has to sit home for 14 days, who is going to teach those students? Certainly not a sub! There’s already an overwhelming shortage of subs and, shocker, most subs don’t actually teach. They monitor the students. In classes with more than one teacher, consider that if one of those teachers gets sick, the other is at risk and both will be out of the classroom at the same time. How will that effect the students then?

    If a bus driver tests positive, what happens to those students on their route? If a cafeteria worker tests positive, what happens when all of the food service team has to quarantine until they receive a negative tests? These are very real situations that need to be answered along with many other scenarios. Have parents considered the emotional and psychological toll on children if their teachers gets sick and dies from this virus? Yes, there were challenges with virtual learning, but as educators, we teach children to try again until they get it right. We don’t quit. We make adjustments. Identify what was missed or went wrong and make the necessary changes. Now is the time to do that for the fall semester. There are several models of virtual learning that make sense; we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Although it’s not a popular opinion for everyone, based on the current data and CDC guidance, starting the year off virtually is the safest option and one that I hope and pray the board and superintendent make on Monday.

    39
  81. Money talks

    Regardless of whether we go Virtual, Hybrid, or Traditional, these furloughs are going to make good teachers leave. No other county is cutting teacher pay. Even 8 furlough days is more than a $2,100 pay cut for a new teacher. Not to mention losing the step increase first semester.

    First cut = lowest priority.

    Fulton & Gwinnett are looking better and better.

    12
  82. @Concerned Educator

    “Back in March, schools closed when the numbers were relatively low in an effort to keep everyone safe and to ensure the hospitals did not reach full capacity.”

    In the beginning of the crises we didn’t know much about the virus. Now we know more about it and the evidence is that 95% of population will have mild to no symptoms, it mostly effects older people (please refer to CDC’s web page), we know how to treat it, the death rates are going down ( though for some people with preexisting health conditions the treatment isn’t effective).

    This is the virus and it’s going to mutate and it’s going to be with us for the rest of our lives like flue or other viruses or we’ll develop the heard immunity and will be fine, either way.

    So, having all those evidences in place people are realizing that we can’t stop living and shelter ourselves for the rest of our lives. We need to go back to live our lives taking precautions to slow the spread.

    And for students, it’s the issue of paramount importance to go back to schools to study and socialize with peers. Being locked in house prisons, for kids will be detrimental to their lives, they will be hurt in so many levels.

    Majority of school districts are realizing that and are opening its door to students. The concerning trend that districts with minority students predominance deny the right of in-person education to them.

    Equal right for access to education is recognized by the administration on the federal level and the suggestion that the federal funds will be withheld from districts which don’t open the doors to students for in-person education.

    2
  83. dekalbteacher

    Concerned,

    The death rates are going up. They went up 13% in the last two weeks. They were going down when people were staying home. It seems that people got tired of staying home and some media outlets and legislators directly and indirectly encouraged people to go out and about, so now we’re seeing the very problems our city and state was able to avoid in March.

    Georgia had 4,000 new cases yesterday. We’ve had record number of cases this week. Metro area hospitals have or are reaching capacity, and Governor Kemp is transforming the convention center to a makeshift medical center.

    You’re right that doctors are better able to treat serious complications from Covid, but as rooms fill and equipment is maxed out. That affects all of us, especially as we continue to need basic and emergency medical care. I’m not sure how you’ve determined that the majority of people in Dekalb will be fine when heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are health conditions prevalent in our district and ones the CDC cites as increased risk for Covid complications. Aasthma, hypertension, and autoimmune disorders also have evidence of complications with Covid. This is not 5% of Dekalb’s student and teacher and staff population. The CDC also acknowledges that it lists updates as the science changes, so any “fact” you knew in March or even in June may have changed.

    I do wish the district could figure out a way to give people like you the type of schooling you want. I just don’t understand where this is happening anywhere other than somewhere like New Zealand.

    10
  84. @dekalbteacher

    Please check the CDC info for the death rate, it’s going down ( I tried to copy it here, but it’s not perfect copy and paste effect) the link to the page below.

    And numerous times I’m repeating myself, that let’s do implement VL for that category you described, but let’s provide in-person as an option for all the rest.

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/COVID19/index.htm

    Updated July 10, 2020
    Week ending date in which the death occurred All Deaths involving COVID-19 (U07.1)1 Deaths from All Causes Percent of Expected Deaths2 Deaths involving Pneumonia, with or without COVID-19, excluding Influenza deaths
    (J12.0–J18.9)3 Deaths involving COVID-19 and Pneumonia, excluding Influenza
    (U07.1 and J12.0–J18.9)3 All Deaths involving Influenza, with or without COVID-19 or Pneumonia
    (J09–J11), includes COVID-19 or Pneumonia4 Deaths involving Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19
    (U07.1 or
    J09–J18.9)5
    Total Deaths 119,318 1,345,941 105 128,582 51,572 6,509 201,881
    2/1/2020 0 58,296 98 3,772 0 478 4,250
    2/8/2020 1 59,026 99 3,771 0 518 4,290
    2/15/2020 0 58,246 99 3,791 0 552 4,343
    2/22/2020 6 58,188 100 3,651 2 559 4,214
    2/29/2020 5 58,442 102 3,772 3 640 4,414
    3/7/2020 33 58,633 101 3,905 16 622 4,543
    3/14/2020 52 57,660 101 3,894 27 611 4,529
    3/21/2020 561 58,502 103 4,492 249 546 5,343
    3/28/2020 3,124 62,464 112 6,114 1,410 440 8,218
    4/4/2020 9,904 71,627 128 9,827 4,716 476 15,256
    4/11/2020 16,004 78,296 141 11,882 7,166 471 20,851
    4/18/2020 16,886 75,957 140 11,283 7,246 262 20,998
    4/25/2020 15,199 72,827 135 10,232 6,515 143 18,963
    5/2/2020 12,949 68,011 126 8,806 5,448 64 16,351
    5/9/2020 10,933 65,138 123 7,646 4,621 46 13,995
    5/16/2020 8,917 62,182 117 6,546 3,685 19 11,794
    5/23/2020 6,915 58,607 111 5,637 2,884 22 9,686
    5/30/2020 5,817 55,608 107 4,935 2,356 10 8,406
    6/6/2020 4,577 53,952 102 4,495 1,981 11 7,102
    6/13/2020 3,577 51,372 98 3,905 1,590 10 5,899
    6/20/2020 2,532 46,570 86 3,256 1,077 5 4,716
    6/27/2020 1,024 35,650 56 1,979 417 4 2,590
    7/4/2020 302 20,687 23 991 163 0 1,130

    2
  85. @dekalbteacher

    “I do wish the district could figure out a way to give people like you the type of schooling you want. I just don’t understand where this is happening anywhere other than somewhere like New Zealand.”

    This is happening in the majority of the counties in GA, USA …just look around ….Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb ….

  86. Currently there is not a vaccine or cure for this deadly virus. It is a dangerous virus. Until there is a vaccine or cure and since it is a pandemic we should follow the epidemiologist and doctor’s guidance. My hope is the Board sides with the science not politicians. There will likely a vaccine in the next year which will then help us live with this virus around us. Until the vaccine I hope we can be wise, considerate and compassionate for the fears and concerns others are having during this remarkable time.

    15
  87. @Rosey

    There IS a treatment protocol for Covid 19 and it’s effective, taking into consideration that the death rate is going down. What makes you think that there will be a vaccine any time soon or that it will be effective. It can take years to make one, test it for safety etc. We have vaccines for flu, but we still get sick , because flu and Covid are viruses and viruses mutate all the time. So let’s stay home forever?

    2
  88. No Place for Hate

    @concerned

    We get it. You’ve told us time and time again what you want. Everything doesn’t need a direct response. Just let others express themselves and please stop the back and forth. You seem opposed to anything other than what you want and you’re beginning to look like a bully and I hope that is not your intention.

    13
  89. Teacher Options

    Stan,
    Any word on options for teachers who can’t go back to work in person until it’s safer? Any word on early retirement options? Thank you.

    9
  90. Hello @Teacher Options. Earlier this week, I asked the superintendent, legal and HR to be prepared to discuss on Monday all the options teachers have. –Stan

    12
  91. Vanessa Thompson

    @Freddie
    “ 2) Hybrid is the worst of both worlds, exposing everyone. Our best bet is to allow parents to choose and hope that the majority choose virtual learning. The more who stay home, the better chance the schools will have to maintain distance/safety for those who come in and the fewer people we’ll have in circulation as possible spreaders/infected.”

    Totally agree!

    5
  92. @No Place for Hate

    It’s an open discussion and everybody is free to express their opinions. Many points of view are contradicting to each other and we are trying to find common ground.

    You are not required to read all the comments if it bothers you.

    I’ve found your comment as rude and trying to bully.

    4
  93. @ No Place for Hate : THANK YOU for responding to @ Concerned, who seems to only care about him/herself and his/her needs. This is supposed to be a place for sharing of ideas, not self-serving ranting and/or borderline bigotry when discussing demographics in DeKalb.

    10
  94. This and That

    FYI -Something I learned a long time ago was to keep checking the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia website (TRS). If you are even 5 years from retirement it is good to check! I highly recommend signing up for the group info meeting (if still available). I retired this year with 26 years in TRS. (I began process in September 2019 at 60 years old). As it turned out – I had 2 years worth of sick leave so I received 28 years credit! But TRS is fantastic at explaining the process and giving options with how much you would receive(28 vs. 30 not much differ). https://www.trsga.com/

    7
  95. Stan
    So glad you are looking at options teachers can take in this COVID-19 environment. It’s a remarkable time. Most of us love our jobs but don’t want to get sick. It may be that we need to look at some reasonable options if we go hybrid or in person.
    The school houses in Dekalb are not pandemic ready. There is a lot of infrastructure work that needs to be done. No hot water, soap and poor ventilation for starters.
    Thank you so much!

    14
  96. @ this and that
    So grateful for your information! TRS is awesome! There are other options likely available for those teachers that don’t have “the years in” yet. Love the students and teaching but don’t want to get sick or get others sick. Other counties have much safer infrastructure to work and teach in. Unfortunately the buildings in DCSD are mostly unfit and not ready for a pandemic situation that we are now in.

    5
  97. @ParentABC

    You don’t like my comment I might not like yours. But I’m not telling you to silence, like you are trying to tell me along with @No Place for Hate. Let’s be adults and not fall into bullying.

    1
  98. @concerned

    The issue is that you are not trying to find common ground. You are combative towards those that don’t agree with your position.

    You have attacked teachers suggesting that they were selfish, with ill intentions.

    You have tried to erroneously use race to frame your argument and fan flames, as a false advocate for minority students.

    You have attacked a survey (only once you realized that you were in the minority) and shared that you wish more parents participated under the wild assumption that they would hypothetically agree with your stance.

    You have even encouraged funding to be taken away from schools, if you don’t get your way. Even though that will hurt the very children that you claim to fight for.

    You have suggested that we ignore the guidance of experts, in favor for hoping that things will go well and ignoring the problem at hand.

    At one point you even threatened to go to the governor in the event that Dekalb decided to start virtually. The funny thing about that is that the state’s own guidance suggests that counties with substantial spread should not open their school buildings to students. So…you’re going to go tell the governor…on the governor? What do you expect to happen?

    You have attacked everyone but the ones responsible for the proliferation of this virus. Why don’t you go speak to the governor about that instead?

    Enough.

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