School Virtual Opening Update

Teachers started pre planning yesterday and students are back to school 100% virtually on Monday. The following are my takeaways from the administration’s latest update.

School Readiness Presentation

100% virtual or not at all – The administration and most of the board seem firm that all schoolhouse work must be done virtually. I pointed out that many of the administrators are working from their school district offices. I asked that teachers be given the same opportunity if they would prefer to work from their classroom. I’ve heard from a number of teachers that would like to have that option because it is more conducive for them to work from their classroom than from home. While my suggestion was met with some incredulity from some members of the board, the administration said they would contemplate whether or not they will give teachers the option of going back into the classroom in extreme cases. It seems to me that teachers and staff would be able to socially distance effectively in a school building without students.

Optimizing staff utilization – “Re-imagine job assignments in the virtual world”, says Regional Superintendent Triscilla Weaver. Schoolhouse resources are being realigned to provide virtual education services. In addition to working with teachers, para-professionals will be doing virtual pull out sessions with students, leading study groups, etc.

Numerous employees will spend their time reaching out to students in an attempt to get them to engage virtually. Attendance secretaries who would normally work on attendance within the building will now be calling homes to encourage virtual attendance.

Sports – DeKalb Schools has already cancelled Fall middle school sports. For varsity sports, the administration is taking their cues from GHSA and the county Board of Health who currently recommend playing games. The GHSA already delayed the start of varsity sports by 2 weeks. Big 10 college football just cancelled the 2020 season. A North Fulton high school athlete just lost both parents to COVID-19.

Virtual Remote Learning Expectations
The administration heard loud and clear from teachers and parents the desire to have a structured schedule. Every student should expect to be engaged during the 7:45 to 1:50 timeframe. The principals were given sample baseline schedules for their grade bands. They modified the schedules to accommodate the needs of their community and submitted their customized schedules to the regional superintendent.

On or around the virtual Open House, when students receive their schedules, parents and students should receive their school’s customized schedule that will look like the sample below.

DeKalb Schools Back To School Virtual Schedule

Student Attendance
Student attendance will be taken, but the school will just be looking for signs of participation. In addition to online participation in virtual classes, the school will be looking for students who login to the system or engage their teachers through email or turning in homework.

Grading Protocol
Teachers will share specifics with students and families regarding classroom grading procedures and expectations. Grading categories will include formative and diagnostic assessments, assessment tasks (skills & homework), classwork (guided, independent & group practice), quizzes, tests and projects. The administration is still working out the specific details.

Chromebooks & Hotspots
The school district currently has enough laptops for 80% of the student population. The school district recently purchased 28,000 new Chromebooks. Due to high demand for laptops these days, the new laptops will not be ready until September at the earliest. In the meantime, students without devices are encouraged to use their own devices.

The school district has currently distributed roughly 8,000 internet hotspots. Connectivity needs are being assessed by surveys and the local school.

Students without devices and/or connectivity will be allowed to work asynchronously. If possible, they can download lesson assignment on their schedule. If necessary, students can pick up paper packets from school.

185 responses to “School Virtual Opening Update

  1. Frustrated and confused

    I know for a fact that the students where I teach come from one of the most affected communities by Covid. These students are responsible not only for themselves, but many of them are watching other kids in their neighborhood while their parents are at work, aka NOT social distancing. This is a necessity for them. What is not a necessity is all of the socializing and hanging out they do on the weekends. I know they need to socialize, I know they need to go back to school. But how are teachers who are immuno-compromised or have family members that are immuno-compromised supposed to reconcile their safety with their students’ education? I’m terrified of returning to a classroom before a vaccine is available because I know I will not be safe and not be able to see my own family until then. Virtual teaching allows me to be there for my students and teach to the best of my ability while ensuring our safety. DeKalb is simply not ready to go back.

    14
  2. Virtual teacher

    @This and that,
    You have grossly misunderstood the purpose of my post. I am not “up in arms” about working any day that I am paid to work. I was merely trying to clarify for those who think Wednesdays are a day off or a non-instructional day that it is in fact a very full day of work for teachers and students just like every other day of the week. I actually really enjoy the time in small groups and think instruction on those days have been most helpful to students. I do not however like the way the administration at my school is micromanaging every minute of every day. We are being told to meet with this many students at this time and teach these standards, but come up with the plan on your own time because you need to be in this meeting at this time, and this meeting at this time, and so on. And no I don’t like that because frankly I don’t like working 10-14 hours a day every day, especially sitting in front of a computer for that long. This way of teaching is very different and for the time being, as we are trying to learn how to do it while doing it, it is very taxing on teachers mentally, physically and emotionally. And you be damned or not I am allowed to say it!

    We are all trying to make the most of a bad situation. But I am so over the insinuations of teachers not doing their part or somehow getting away with working less or being criticized because we speak up about the extensive demands of virtual teaching or being dehumanized because school is only supposed to be about the students. Well we are human too and this situation has been equally as challenging on us as students and parents. We should all be in this together trying to make sure no one is getting screwed!

    10
  3. Why is this such a big deal?

    I don’t understand why having kids attend on Wednesday when there’s a holiday is causing such an uproar. If you look at the calendar we’re talking one day, in October between now and the winter break (unless I missed one). Can administrators and teachers really not plan for ONE day so that kids can have a full hour of classes that week?

    2
  4. Push-in teachers

    Stan,
    I don’t see a new post, but I know the district is reviewing virtual learning to determine whether or not we need to go back to the building. I have a question about logistics and how it will work for teachers who push into multiple classrooms. There is one teacher I work with who has multiple families in her class who are battling Covid at the moment. These are just the families who’ve notified her, so we’re not sure how many families are actually battling Covid within the school. If teachers who push into classrooms go into a room where children have the virus, and then go to 5 other classrooms, that teacher could possibly expose an additional 150 students to the virus. How will this be managed? With virtual learning, we can safely serve all the students on our caseloads. Does the county have a plan for how we are supposed to do that in person?

    7
  5. not being served

    @Push-in teachers –

    No student that is learning virtually is being “served.” You are staying safe, no small thing, but no student is being served.

    3
  6. Virtual teacher

    My apologies @This and That,

    My last post was not in response to what you said. It was in response to @Students getting screwed, not teachers.

    1
  7. @Stan can we get rid of Naviance? It’s a pain and greatly complicates the application process for all parties.

    2
  8. Whine with that Cheese?

    It is interesting that teachers are posting what the rest of us call a salaried job, unless you want to take an hourly job almost all salaried positions require working early, late, weekends and days off. How spoiled have SOME of our education employees become that they have to complain online that THEY don’t get Wednesdays off! I say our employees because I feel like teachers forget they work for all tax paying citizens, instead they just want to publicly whine and complain about their work environments, meanwhile sanitation departments have never shut down and I’ve yet to hear a ton of nationwide complaints.

    Bottom line, salaried employees should always go above and beyond the call of duty no matter what industry you work in, that’s part of unwritten contract you accept when taking those positions. If you want to complain about your yearly salary, change jobs and join the rest of us in a much different world that includes layoffs, furloughs and salary decreases… you know those things you all are not subject to while you “host” virtual PE, Dance, STEM, etc.

    4
  9. Smoke and Mirrors

    @Whine with that Cheese?
    I don’t believe any teacher was whining about Wednesday being a work day and that teachers are to work. I believe that there is an over-reaction to not using Wednesday this week as a synchronous day. I for one, would have preferred to use it that way. No teacher is complaining about the work, just explaining that we do work and work exceptionally hard. Most teachers put in hours supplementing materials or in many cases creating materials for our students!

    10
  10. Hope all the parents filled out the recent survey that went out to assess how comfortable we are sending kids back. Same vague survey as before.

    Cry me a river virtual teacher and proud teacher. You get paid. You have a job. And are doing a piss poor job. Still moaning and whining.

    “Then there are the public schools. Buses are no longer schlepping kids to classes but since it is part of revenue stream they are now meals-on-wheels. Teachers have gone from heroes to traitors by insisting they be outside the classroom. A year ago teachers would have a hissy fit if someone suggested cameras in the classroom and now the classroom is the camera. And they want it that way. Or so they think. Unfortunately this form of flipped classroom does exactly what teachers so don’t want: exposing classroom activities to review, particularly by parents. Now it is virtually impossible for a parent to NOT see what is going on. If Stan Da Man’s post of virtual learning weekly calendar is correct, and it probably is, then DeKalb is offering three hours of instruction four days a week with the remainder mostly fluff. As a point of reference, the State of Georgia requires that home-schools provide four and a half hours of instruction for 180 days per year. And what are the teachers’ big concern? That their Professional Development Institute didn’t cover how to create their own bitmoji classrooms. Any parent that giggles that (it really is a thing) will likely seek an alternative this virtual learning that is actually useless. If enough parents agree, this pandemic may finally result in a public school revolution where schools shed burdensome extras and return to core learning.”

    https://theotherdunwoody.blogspot.com/2020/08/pandemic-shifts.html?m=1

    3
  11. Virtual teacher

    @Demographics

    You sound pretty mad, jobless and broke! LOL
    But, you have fun with that anger!

    Me, I’m going to keep doing my “piss poor job” and “getting paid for it!”

    8
  12. Quite the opposite VT.

    Go back to your moaning, whining and entitlement. Keep believing you’re getting screwed and are the victim.

    3
  13. It was disheartening today, to see all of the Gwinnett County school buses dropping kids off at home after being “normal” and at school all day. I’ll bet they are very happy, and actually able to learn in a “normal” and supportive environment. So what makes Gwinnett so different from Dekalb?

    4
  14. DeKalb being DeKalb

    Just another example of other schools getting back to work and DeKalb being DeKalb:

    “During football’s home opener this month, the Walton High School marching band in Cobb County played from the end zone. But in Gwinnett County, the Marching Lions at Peachtree Ridge High School took to the field at halftime.

    Both bands took care to socially distance. Many members donned masks.

    Across metro Atlanta, high school marching bands are adapting their operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. The DeKalb County School District postponed all band and athletic activities until at least the end of September.”

    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/metro-atlanta-high-school-marching-bands-adjust-to-pandemic/FMM4ZFOGHBH4DCVY2Z2GCQMUYA/

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  15. No Child Left Behind?

    “Districts where the vast majority of students are white are more than three times as likely as school districts that enroll mostly students of color to be open for some in-person learning, according to an analysis conducted by The Associated Press and Chalkbeat.

    While that stark divide often reflects the preferences of parents, it’s one that could further exacerbate inequities in education.

    In every state, the AP and Chalkbeat surveyed the largest school districts in each of four categories set by the National Center for Education Statistics: urban, suburban, town and rural.

    Survey responses from 677 school districts covering 13 million students found that most students will begin the school year online. That’s the case for the vast majority of the nation’s biggest districts, with the notable exception of New York City. But the survey shows that race is a strong predictor of which public schools are offering in-person instruction and which aren’t.

    The higher a district’s share of white students, the more likely it is to offer in-person instruction — a pattern that generally holds across cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas.

    Across the surveyed districts, 79% of Hispanic students, 75% of Black students, and 51% of white students won’t have the option of in-person learning.”

    https://apnews.com/c2bbac629ea4337878e391fe3067710e

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  16. @No Child Left Behind,
    Interesting points but I don’t know how this applies to DCSD. DCSD is a majority minority school district, so since Covid has disproportionate harmful effects on minority populations, is it a good thing that there is no face-to-face learning?

    Or is the lack of face-to-face learning a terrible thing because it increases achievement gaps between minority and non-minority minority children?

    Remember that DCSD has a Black superintendent and a majority Black Board of Education. They have to balance these concerns.

    Lots of moving parts, lots of interpretations, lots of opportunities for finger pointing. Lots of opportunities for further division between predominantly white areas of DeKalb and predominantly non-white areas of DCSD. Let’s hope Mrs. Watson-Harris can be as wise as Solomon.

    3
  17. “You get paid. You have a job. And are doing a piss poor job.”

    How do you know what kind of teacher I am?

    7
  18. Teacher and Parent

    @Alison Mercer, that’s not entirely the case in Gwinnett. Although I teach in DeKalb, I live in Gwinnett. My daughter is in HS and we have opted to keep her virtual. Although students are going f2f, they are getting the same things as those who are home. They sit at desks with a chromebook while the teacher sits at her desk with a chromebook. She teaches the lesson online and they listen. During the independent time, they login to eclass and do the same online work. There are no f2f small groups. They participate in the breakout room small groups right along with those who are at home. The teacher is not up walking around and supporting students. It is nothing like it was before March. What Gwinnett is essentially doing is providing a place to be while parents work. Well, that’s what is happening at the HS level. Sure, DeKalb could offer the same, but the hands on education that you think is happening in Gwinnett…isn’t.

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  19. @Teacher and Parent: Thank you very much for your explanation about “Gwinnett” (even though it makes my head spin). Bouncing around between Virtual, partial-Virtual, some isolated Face-to-Face in school building seems more complicated for Everyone than just having one method.

    1
  20. Psychological Benefit

    @Teacher and Parent –

    You dismiss too easily the lift these Gwinnett kids are getting by seeing their friends and being active. Don’t forget the psychological benefit.

    And perhaps as important, Gwinnett and other counties that are having kids in person are learning the ins and outs of making it work. It’s painful at times. DeKalb will have to learn this too when they …if they ever reopen.

    4
  21. Concerned Citizen

    Has anyone studied Sweden’s response to coronavirus with any depth or understanding? Sweden’s death rate per million, we are told by such objective sources as CNN and NBC, is terrible; however, it is 1/3 of New Jersey’s and 1/2 of New York’s, Massachusetts’, or Connecticut’s death rate per million. Sweden did not close down its schools, which we were assured by our ignorant media overlords would result in the death of every teacher, grandparent, parent, and student. Uh, no. If you compare the rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection by professions, guess what? Teachers in Sweden have been affected no more and no less than other professionals. The rate of cases among children is 0.05% in Sweden. The rate of cases among children in locked-down Finland is … 0.05%. Media consumers in America have been panicked into believing the terrifying notion that coronavirus is this century’s Black Plague. One would think that the people with signs in their yard stating “SCIENCE IS REAL!” would actually believe in the sentiment, and yet the scientific evidence plainly indicates that children aged 10 years and younger are not a vector of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but these supposed science supporters are aghast that anyone would contemplate sending their child to a traditional classroom, never mind what the data clearly show from schools remaining open in Sweden, Austria, Australia, Denmark, and other countries. But if you want a review of studies that demonstrate that children are not a source of transmission, see https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-data-top-10.pdf?mod=article_inline.

    4
  22. Today I spent some time with a very dear friend. Her daughter is a special education teacher in a high school in Gwinnett. This young lady is teaching her virtual class, and in person class at the same time. She is using the computer for the lesson for all students. This is without the support of a para educator, even though it is a small group class. She teaches in a large high school. There are general education classes being taught in the same way. I am not sure if this is the experience in every school.

  23. DSW2Contributor

    Breaking news from Clifton Road:
    ——————————————————————————————-
    (Reuters) – Twelve children who likely contracted COVID-19 at three childcare operations in Utah infected some of their parents and siblings, according to a U.S. study, adding to evidence that very young kids can transmit the disease.

    Previous studies had suggested children aged 10 years or older can efficiently transmit COVID-19 in school settings.

    The new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published on Friday found that much younger children can also spread the virus, including a case of an 8-month-old who apparently infected both parents.

    From the 12 documented cases acquired at the childcare facilities, virus transmission was found among at least 12 of 46 non-facility contacts, such as parents – one of whom required hospitalization – siblings and an aunt.

    Transmission was observed from two of three children with confirmed, asymptomatic COVID-19, researchers found, further evidence that those without symptoms can spread the virus.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    Full article here:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-children-idUSKBN2622Q3

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  24. Concerned Citizen

    Read the MMWR article rather than the Reuters spin on it: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6937e3.htm. And then read the review of 78 studies indicating children are not a significant vector of transmission. If after reading all 3 you decide that Reuters has the narrative right, you should remove the SCIENCE sign from your yard.

    4
  25. @DSW2 –

    I agree with Concerned Citizen. You have no idea what you’re reporting on. Here a more balanced section from the AP story:

    “Scientists already know children can spread the virus. But the study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “definitively indicates — in a way that previous studies have struggled to do — the potential for transmission to family members,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher.

    The findings don’t mean that schools and child-care programs need to close, but it does confirm that the virus can spread within those places and then be brought home by kids. So, masks, disinfection and social distancing are needed. And people who work in such facilities have to be careful and get tested if they think they may be infected, experts said.”

    Basically, this is old news. People need to be safe. Wow – no kidding. But that doesn’t mean you cannot open schools.

    4
  26. They don’t care about our community

    I’m just wondering who would send their child to school when they will be learning on a laptop (the same as at home learning) and risk getting a disease that could kill them and all those they come in contact with? I live in Gwinnett and I see the busses driving around. They are empty and I see no children at the bus stops. Usually the bus stops in my area are full of parents and children. I walk my dog for an hour in the morning and afternoon and we walk through 3 neighborhoods full of young families, but the bus stops are deserted now. Gwinnett may be open, but people aren’t sending their children. I really can’t believe anyone would risk their life or their children’s life just to login to a laptop when you could safely do that at home. It tells me that the people wanting their children to go to school are most likely the same ones putting all of us at risk by going to parties, bars, weddings, funerals, birthday parties, having bbq’s, etc. These are the same people causing the increasing rates of the virus. If they don’t even care about their own children’s lives, why in the world should we let them bully the school into opening and risk teachers lives? They don’t care about their children, teachers or our community. Going into a building is not worth the risk of death. And I don’t care if other countries are doing it, we are an urban area and are much more populated than they are. Compare them to rural areas, completely different. The disease spread in urban areas is already more prevalent. I would feel safe going to school in a rural area because the population is so much lower and they don’t have apartments dwellings. I do not want to risk my life to do the same job that I can do from home. Is going into a building worth dying for?

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  27. They don’t care about our community

    I also want to add that those parents who keep pushing for school buildings to open also say things like: it’s the flu or it doesn’t affect children. If it’s like the flu, then why do nurses and doctors wear space suits to treat the patients? They’re more careful with COVID patients than tuberculosis patients. From what I’ve heard, if you are admitted to the hospital with Covid your chance of making it out alive is very low. I’ve also heard that once you’re admitted to the hospital, you’re pretty much on your own. The nurse will communicate to you through the phone and they slide your food into your room through a window. You’re basically put in a room to die and the hospital staff are too afraid to enter the room. Who would risk it all for “socialization?” Opening the schools would be completely insane.

    3
  28. You Know Everything

    @They don’t care blah blah blah…

    So I guess all these other schools and leaders and students across the planet are “completely insane” (to use your term), and you are the master of the universe and all knowing? Oh, just to be YOU.

    3
  29. In the Utah study,

    At two of the facilities, investigators were able to establish that an infected adult worker introduced the virus. One staff member went to work with a positive family member at home.

    So mask up teachers and follow the rules. You are the greatest risk to our kids not the other way around. And you are the greatest hypocrites. You are not heroes. You are traitors.

    2
  30. Minority Report

    Its really interesting to me that there are some that there are some who completely dismiss the fact that the majority or this district is occupied by minorities (Students and teachers) This virus disproportionally affects them… why would it be safe to open without a true plan or vaccine?

    6
  31. Minority Report

    Its really interesting to me that there are some completely who dismiss the fact that the majority or this district is occupied by minorities (Students and teachers) This virus disproportionally affects them… why would it be safe to open without a true plan or vaccine?

    2
  32. Best case scenerio, Dekalb opens Hybrid at the end of October.
    Realistically, Dekalb will stay closed for the entire first semester regardless of what other counties do.
    Dekalb has not done any prep work to get schools ready for reopening.
    They have sent a survey out and asked about partitions and masks etc.
    The way Dekalb works it will take until January to prepare the buildings, if at all this year.
    In fact we are doing MAP testing through Microsoft Teams. That will be interesting but certainly not valid.
    MAP is used as a primary qualifier for Gifted testing. Watch how we have an unusually high number of kids that can qualify due to adult “help”. It’s a 2020 pandemic everyone is gifted:) More money for Dekalb!

    2
  33. Frustrated and confused

    @Minority Report you are exactly correct!!!! That’s what I was trying to say in my post. Not only does it affect them disproportionately, but my students are responsible for other kids in their neighborhoods as well while their parents are working. They are being exposed to everyone in the community either directly or indirectly and it shows in the data!

    4
  34. Concerned Citizen

    If you’re waiting until a vaccine is available, what makes you think (a) a vaccine will be available and (b) people will take a vaccine that the leaders of one political party have already said they won’t trust? How many years of kids not being in school and not learning do you want them to suffer through? Kids went to school in Sweden, kids are going to school in Sweden. How many kids died in Sweden? That would be 1 out of ~1,000,000 students. I don’t pretend to understand the people who treat coronavirus like a death sentence—it’s not. For persons aged 90 and over, 1 in 6 die after contracting COVID-19. Not great odds, but definitely not a death sentence. Persons aged 70 and older are most at risk and 80% of fatalities are among this cohort. I must have missed the demographics presentation that indicates our schools are teeming with senior citizen teachers.

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  35. Just Wondering

    Is the board meeting tomorrow virtual or face-to-face/in person?

    5
  36. They don’t care about our community

    @concerned citizen- if it’s not a death sentence then please explain why nurses wear space suits when they work with Covid patients? I’ll be waiting for your response.

    3
  37. Minority Report

    @Concerned Citizen….
    One death is too much when it can be prevented based on my values and morals….but hey, that’s just me.

    And I KNOW I said Vaccine OR true shared plan in place.

    AGAIN…Its not just about the individuals in the schoolhouse…. students can be asymptomatic and take this home to mom with asthma, grandma with cancer, dad with diabetes….ect.

    After knowing 10 individuals who had it personally (3 with horrible symptoms and 2 who died) I guess I have a different prospective.

    And no, I don’t trust liars, but I trust the facts and individuals who don’t have a degree that was simply paid for.

    3
  38. They don’t care about our community

    @concerned citizen- Ebola is the only other disease I can think of that I saw medical personnel wear space suits. If you die from Covid your body is cremated immediately, you cannot have a funeral and family members are not allowed to say goodbye to you in the hospital room. Please explain all these cautions for a virus that’s not deadly. Your body is treated like hazardous waste if you die from Covid, just like Ebola. Yes, that’s frightening and who would put a child or teacher in harms way like that?

    3
  39. I have answers

    If somebody can die from it, then we can’t do it? Somebody is going to die on the highway today, should we shut down the highways. Somebody is going to drown in a swimming pool. I know people who have died in car crashes. Perhaps swimming pools and cars should be illegal.

    2
  40. They don’t care about our community

    @I have answers, this is a virus, if we had that attitude then the human population would have been wiped out during the plague, the Spanish flu, small pox, leprosy, etc. We have ALWAYS quarantined and sheltered in place. It goes all the way back through history and it’s why we survived and thankfully invented vaccines so we can live normal healthy lives. That’s why we have a public health department. The department of health is there to track and stop disease. This is also why some other countries have poor health, because they don’t have a health department that tracks and prevents disease outbreaks. It’s why we live normal healthy lives in our country. Be thankful you live here where we care about public health and public health comes first. I know I’m thankful I can live a normal life because of it.

    1
  41. I have answers

    The flu is a virus, we obviously aren’t sheltering in place for that one. HIV is a virus that we don’t have a vaccine for. We should take appropriate and reasonable precautions and drive on the highways, go to the grocery store and go to school. I’ll bet you leave the house … so surely you don’t mean shelter in place at all costs all the time. I haven’t read the entire thread … I just read the idiotic one death is too many comment and jumped in.

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  42. @I Have Answers- You don’t have any good answers. What are you thinking? The incidences of deaths that you cited, death on highways and drowning from swimming are both considered accidental. HIV, yes it is a virus, but what do people do, they wear condoms to prevent spreading it and medical personnel always, I repeat, always wear gloves when they take blood and other instances in which they can be exposed to HIV, such as administering injections. I personally, am not willing to sacrifice not one of my loved ones. Sending students and teachers back to the schools, while there is such a large community spread would do just that.

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  43. DSW2Contributor

    ~~~~ “I have answers” wrote “Somebody is going to die on the highway today, should we shut down the highways.”

    Atlanta thinks so:
    ————————————————————
    Default speed limit lowered to 25 mph on Atlanta roads as part of Vision Zero plan

    Atlanta’s local roads now have a default speed limit of 25 miles per hour after the City Council formally adopted the Vision Zero plan on April 20, which focuses on eliminating traffic deaths and reducing crashes and serious injuries.
    ————————————————————
    https://atlantaintownpaper.com/2020/04/default-speed-limit-lowered-to-25-mph-on-atlanta-roads-as-part-of-vision-zero-plan/

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  44. Concerned Citizen

    @DSW2Contributor, if you think “shutting down the highways” is accomplished by the City of Atlanta lowering speed limits to 25 mph on side roads, your contribution to the conversation is exactly zero.
    @They don’t care about our community, your mythology is more frightening to me than coronavirus. Read https://nfda.org/covid-19/cremation-burial if you want to know the options for disposing of COVID-19 victims. As for hazmat suits (“space suits” in your parlance), that is not the standard or recommended protocol. Typically, scrubs are recommended along with a mask, gloves, face shield, and frequent hand washing. Your hysteria is a monument to your faulty consumption of news media.
    @Minority Report, “one death is too much” doesn’t deserve a response because of your reductio ad absurdum logic, but here goes: “one death is too much” is a lie in an attempt to force your values to the forefront. If “one death is too much” then we need to ban swimming. If “one death is too much” then we need to ban driving, flying, hiking, cycling, skateboarding, surfing, jumping on trampolines, and drinking alcohol. If “one death is too much” then we need to ban insulin because an insulin overdose can lead to death. Try to use a legitimate argument rather than trying to shut down a discussion by making moralistic statements that lack a logical component.

  45. They don’t care about our community

    Ok Concerned Citizen, but just FYI, families of the students are most at risk. When your child comes home daily you are the one who will be in close contact with someone who went into a building notorious for the transmission of diseases. There’s no way children will wear a mask for 8 hours and parents already send children to school sick so just assume your child/children will be exposed at some point. People who work with children know how children act and I’d love to say they will be responsible and respectful of the rules, but they’re children. 100’s of children together in a confined space with poor ventilation. I’m young, fit and healthy, but a lot of families I work with have obesity, preexisting conditions and older adults living with them. I don’t believe going into a building is worth the risk, but if you don’t care, it’s your life and your family’s. By all means do what you think is best. It’s a free country, thank goodness :).

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  46. Concerned Citizen

    @They don’t care about our community, perhaps you should read more scientific journal articles, especially regarding the expression of ACE2 receptors in younger children. From a May 2020 JAMA article: “The nasal epithelium is one of the first sites of infection with SARS-CoV-2, and the investigators probed for the expression of the cell surface enzyme angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which has been proven to bind to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and promote internalization of the virus into human cells. Among a cohort of 305 patients aged 4 to 60 years, older children (10-17 years old; n = 185), young adults (18-24 years old; n = 46), and adults (≥25 years old; n = 29) all had higher expression of ACE2 in the nasal epithelium compared with younger children (4-9 years old; n = 45), and ACE2 expression was higher with each subsequent age group after adjusting for sex and asthma.”

    In other words, children aged 10 years and younger have fewer ACE2 receptors for SARS-CoV-2 proteins and, thus, are less likely to be seriously infected and less likely to have a reservoir of the virus to shed and transmit to others. That’s what the SCIENCE! says.

    But if your position is that only zero risk is tolerable, then we will never return to school because schools should be closed during influenza seasons (or maybe you don’t care that young, beloved teachers have died during seasonal flu outbreaks—that’s just an unfortunate tragedy that no one could reasonably stop), and our “virtual” students will continue to be poorly served by a school system with a budget of 1 billion dollars and no sense.

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  47. Would anyone be opposed to Substitute Teachers being trained on the virtual learning software, and receiving a bump up in pay to step in and help our kids due to the growing teacher shortage? ALL Subs have a Bachelor’s Degree, but not necessarily in “Education” specifically. Still, we are smart about many things, and would like to help! Subs can’t even get unemployment even though there is no work for us. I can handle anything except for higher level high school math and science.

    1
  48. Hi Stan. I recognize there’s a board meeting now but in case it comes up–why is the stakeholder survey closing after the Board meeting yet the Superintendent is presenting a re-opening plan? Thanks for any clarity you can get.

    1
  49. Our President has said he doing everything he can to get a vaccine. So we should move forward with opening schools. The vaccine could come as early as Nov 3, 2020. Will you require every student to get one?

    1
  50. Is today’s 2pm Board Mtg running late?? It’s 2:17 and nothing is playing on DSTV– It just says “Board Meeting…..will return”

    1
  51. Alison, Executive session started at 1pm and it’s going really long. The board needs to break up these meetings into multiple days. –Stan

    1
  52. Thanks! I’ll just hang on and wait. Breathe…… all is well.‍♀️

  53. Stan

    Is the 2:00 BOE Meeting on PDS 24?

  54. Hey D, I believe the administration is using the Georgia Department of Health guidelines regarding the number of COVID-19 cases per 100K people to make the back to school decision.

  55. Joy, The 2pm BOE meeting will be streamed on PDS 24 when it starts. May not start until 3pm or so. It’s hard to say. We are still in executive session.

    2
  56. I am very patient, but the public awaits, and many may be getting perturbed….. Might you raise a motion to resume executive session later, after the public session??

    3
  57. I’m just wondering why they couldn’t update the static slide with a little announcement saying the previous meeting is running longer than expected, oh, and it would be nice if they could get rid of the hideous buzzing noise.

    4
  58. I am waiting on my cell phone. You can accidentally open the audio line, and I’ll just start saying, “Hello? Is anyone there? Hello? Testing….testing…Can you hear me?” 🙂

    1
  59. Starting at 3:35

    2
  60. DSW2Contributor

    There are reopening plan details in the docs on eboard.

    Open up the meeting agenda for today, then click on the attachment that is under D. Adjourn to a Committee of the Whole.

    Document is titled “Dekalb’s Onward and Upward Strategy to Re-open Schools 2020-2021”

    3
  61. I’m confused about the efficacy of halving the student body in a hybrid class using an alphabetical system for high school students. My senior is in several AP classes that only meet in a single class period. What if 25 of the students in that class have last names starting with A-G, so they all are scheduled to be in person the same day? Will they move the class to a bigger space, like the gym? Given that high school students are in so many different class groupings throughout the day, it seems impossible to ensure no class has more than 16 students in person just based on last names. Am I mistaken?

    3
  62. @DeKalb Mom, how else would you half the student body? The circumstance you mentioned I think will happen any way you dice it.

    2
  63. VeteranTeacher

    Mr. Jester,
    As I sit here and listen to the board meeting with the review of the reopening plans, I’m concerned that some major issues have not been addressed.

    How will the specialist teachers be expected to adapt to the reopening plan? Especially at the elementary level where the specialists teach the entire school in one week. Teaching 1/2 of a class at a time or teaching a hybrid of virtual and face-to-face still does not address the fact that some of us teach 120 children a day on a typical school day. Are we expected to go into the classrooms? Are we expected to teach four days a week or five days a week seeing different groups of children? That not only exposes us but creates a super spreader situation where we are exposing everyone we come in contact with.

    What about budgets for supplies? What about teachers that teach in trailers? There are so many issues that have not been addressed. I would like to know when and how my concerns will be addressed before I’m expected to go back into a school setting.

    3
  64. Good questions. The school district has some time to figure out these specifics. DeKalb is still at substantial spread, so we will be virtual for a while. What are other school districts doing? There is a good chance that DeKalb Schools will do whatever has been working for other school districts.

    3
  65. Rachel Petrucelli

    Mr. Jester,

    Ms. Turner asked the question about hallway transitioning and Ms. Watson-Harris did not answer the question. I would like to know these details too. Would specials teachers need to go to the classrooms or would the students come to them? This is important for planning purposes. What is the plan for Elementary Special Area teachers? We come in contact with the entire school.

    4
  66. Extremely Concerned Teacher

    @stanjester

    What about the risks posed by students being maskless during lunch in the classroom? This presents a major risk of exposure for teachers and other students. How can teachers safely eat without exposing themselves? Are their options for teachers who are unwilling to expose themselves in this way? I have not been around anyone outside of my household unmasked since late March. I am extremely concerned and uncomfortable with this.

    5
  67. Stan, can you ask about simultaneous teaching. In Gwinnett, teachers are teaching both f2f and virtual however, those f2f are doing the exact same thing as those who are still virtual. The teacher is still sitting at the desk teaching on Zoom. How will it look for us?

    7
  68. In what situation DeKalb County is placing teachers. We have families too, many of us have people of that advanced near us. Will we have to isolate ourselves from our families? The yoke that the education system is putting on the teacher is very heavy. We have to teach in person and online, make plans, record classes, clean our classrooms, and stay healthy because no one is going to pay for the days we are sick. This situation is untenable and arbitrary. Once again the Georgian teacher’s rights are violated and he has to cause and abide by because he has a family that depends on his salary. Sad for others.

    15
  69. Concerned teacher

    I appreciate that DCSD is looking at the numbers when discussing reopening. The plan seems far more science-based than I have seen from other districts that seem to be relying more upon popular opinion. That said, I wonder whether the numbers DCSD is looking at are taking into account that DeKalb includes other school districts. 

    On the Sept. 8th map, the lightest areas (those zip codes with the fewest cases) are primarily in the City of Atlanta. Decatur, while not as low as Atlanta, is lower than significant portions of DeKalb. It would seem that if we are discussing reopening DeKalb County Schools that we should look at the numbers of the zip codes that feed into DCSD. The zip codes for APS & CSD should be exluded. 

    Please tell us what our cases per 100,000 are when the Atlanta & Decatur zip codes are excluded.

    Thank you.

    3
  70. Some schools are dirty and classrooms do not have proper ventilation so how are you expecting to keep those students and staff safe?? In addition to teaching online AND in person, the teachers need to disinfect between students??? When will they have time to do this between keeping students safe, writing lesson plans, implementing lesson plans, teaching, small groups, bathroom breaks, lunches, arrival and dismissal, communicating with parents, endless staff meetings, being observed/assessed, etc.??!! I don’t even understand how you can require teachers to go back into the building when you don’t have adequate custodial staff to do proper cleaning! This is a horrible solution and you are putting everyone at risk. Then when a teachers gets Covid from being forced to be in a classroom that SHE has to disinfect, who will teach the kids?? How will they get paid for getting Covid at school and bringing it home? Now they have to sit at home with no pay while recovering (if they are lucky). I know people who got Covid and didn’t make it, are you trying to add to the death count? How will you keep staff and students safe? The pictures in the PPT from Barack Obama school are not like any other school in Dekalb. Classes are not that clean nor do they have that much space. Some hallways only have 1 bathroom with 2 stalls! Are kids going to spend all day waiting to use bathroom and teacher is again responsible for making sure they observe social distances? Who will be doing temperature checks?? Most days sick kids have to sit in teachers room WITH fever because parents can’t be reached. What is the child refuses to wear a mask? Whose job is it to make sure they keep it on? I do not feel safe with sending my child back and you are not even giving your staff a choice! You are putting them in the eye of the storm with no protection. Think about that when you are making your decision.

    21
  71. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ Excellent point, concerned teacher!

    I completely agree about our numbers needing to exclude the zip codes for APS & Decatur City Schools.

  72. The number of cumulative reported cases from Dekalb county hospitals was 17536 on 9/13 and was 16555 on 8/31 (according to data aggregated from CDC and local and state hospitals via USAFacts.org found here: https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/state/georgia/county/dekalb-county).
    That means there were an additional 981 reported cases in the last 14 days. Using linear regression, I found an approximated value for the population of this year (I didn’t take into account death and stagnation due to COVID as that’s quite hard to do currently with the terrifically differing models for trends currently available) is 770098.285714…let’s call it 770099 people to keep it simpler.
    That would mean there was an infection rate of 981/770099 or .0012738622 or about 127.386 per 100000 for Dekalb excluding those areas that are within the Fulton county areas.

    3
  73. I would have thought that ALL Board members were on the same page before important people spent considerable time and energy on an “Onward and Upward” plan that was then publicly criticized by some Board members. Surprising for what the public should see and believe is a Leadership “Team”. It seems this should have been “vetted”, and then tabled, in the closed Executive session. This does Not build confidence and support.

  74. The Open Meetings Act actually requires these conversations to occur in public. Executive session is limited to matters related to employment, litigation and purchase of property. Had they “vetted” this prior to the Board meeting they would have been breaking the law.

    5
  75. Interesting….and unfortunate. A contrast from the private sector.

  76. Dear Stan
    Thank you for all that you do.
    If the BOE Members got major reports like the one related to opening schools earlier, I think that it would be helpful. It would provide more time for them to read it and formulate their questions and concerns. That was a great deal of information to share at one time. This is no disrespect to the new superintendent, but I don’t think that her team had prepared her well to answer the various questions. Of course with a subject like Opening the Schools there would be a lot of emotion and questions.

    1
  77. For what it’s worth I actually think the presentation was more transparent and data driven then what we have seen in the past. There are still lots of questions and things do seem very fluid but it is refreshing to see the district attempt to be transparent. Regardless of whether I agree with the decisions or not I appreciate the fact that there does seem to be some thought and planning.

    14
  78. Mr. Jester,

    Thank you for asking thoughtful questions during the meeting last night. Despite you asking, I am still not confidant in the answer you got about when we will go back if we do not meet the 100/100K cases by October 5th. Is there a date we have to meet those number by in order to start back October 5th? If we are not under 100/100K cases by October 5th we will be waiting week by week for a new announcement, or will we have a revision of the entire plan with new goal dates a little further out. I know Ms. Stepney answered that a weeks notice would be given, but the answer did not seem prethought out.

    1
  79. 1-5 Cases before DCSD will fully reopen? On what planet will that ever happen? The county does realize that now that Covid-19 is here it’s never going away. So how will that metric ever work?

    5
  80. So, with 2nd, 6th and 9th going back to school are we going to pay for Dekalb to run buses for possibly only a handful of children or will the stops be modified to collect more kids at fewer stops? With budgets already tight, driving the traditional routes will simply be a waste of fuel and wear and tear on the busses.

    2
  81. Teachers need to understand they put our children at risk, not the other way around. Teachers, you are responsible for arriving to school healthy, with your masks on and minimize your contact with others when not at school.

    I see Fulton is starting back and many others. But we have Stan stating it won’t happen anytime soon. MILLIONS were approved in PPE money, and system received millions from the federal government and the GA DOE.

    COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame
    “Almost 6 months into the pandemic, accumulating evidence and collective experience argue that children, particularly school-aged children, are far less important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than adults. “Therefore, serious consideration should be paid toward strategies that allow schools to remain open, even during periods of COVID-19 spread. In doing so, we could minimize the potentially profound adverse social, developmental, and health costs that our children will continue to suffer until an effective treatment or vaccine can be developed and distributed or, failing that, until we reach herd immunity.”

    https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/146/2/e2020004879

    5
  82. Asymptomatic spread

    @Demographics,

    They may not be the main driver, but they do contribute to spread.
    ‘“I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection,” says Lael Yonker, director of the MGH Cystic Fibrosis Center and lead author of the study. “I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”’ https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/08/looking-at-children-as-the-silent-spreaders-of-sars-cov-2/ (cites a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics)

    Also, there are many children in school that are 10 and older: “A recent study from South Korea of 5,706 infected people and their 59,073 contacts found children under 10 transmitted less often to adults while those between the ages of 10 and 19 spread the virus as well as adults do. ” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-scientists-know-about-how-children-spread-covid-19-180975396/

    11
  83. Concerned Citizen

    From a recent Reason.com article: News stories from Texas to Kansas to Ohio to Pennsylvania tell of families dissatisfied with chaotic public school schedules, strikes and sick-outs, and teaching arrangements that fail to meet families’ widely varying tolerances for risk in the midst of a pandemic.

    “The pandemic has driven an increasing number of parents around the region and the country to give new consideration to homeschooling, spurred by uncertainty about school schedules and aversion to virtual learning programs,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported earlier this week. “Officials have said online learning this fall will be far improved from when the pandemic abruptly closed schools in the spring. But a number of parents choosing to homeschool said their experiences with virtual instruction were simply too frustrating.”

    Losing faith in government schools and taking on more responsibility for educating our children will be a positive outcome from a very difficult era.

    https://reason.com/2020/09/16/homeschooling-hits-a-tipping-point/

    2
  84. Hundreds of DeKalb County teachers paid late after waiting for hours in line

    https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/dekalb-county/hundreds-dekalb-county-teachers-paid-late-after-waiting-hours-line/AVCMKSWUKRBN7P75I5PV2ZORWY/

    I know that there have been some recent changes in HR. The start of the school year is always a very busy time. Getting people paid on time is very important.
    When a close friend went to work for another district before checks were issued, she received an email to verify that the information on file was correct. Hopefully, DeKalb can get a trained HR leader who can stay long enough to look at the prodecures being used. Then make informed decisions about changes that may need to be made.

    1
  85. As of 9/25, there are 118 Teacher openings posted for Dekalb County. Wow…..

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