COVID-19 Cases Trending Down

Over the last few days the COVID-19 “Cases per 100K (last 2 weeks)” in DeKalb have gone from 122 to 117. DeKalb Schools will begin the transition to a hybrid learning model if the Cases per 100K (last 2 weeks) is below 100 for 14 days straight.

DeKalb Schools Calculations To Move To Hybrid are the conditions under which the school district would transition to a hybrid learning environment. The Georgia Department of Public Health provides a daily report with the data points used to make these calculations.

click to enlarge image

Kindergarten and Pre-K Enrollment
Enrollment is generally down across the district, but Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten seem to have been hit the hardest. Total K enrollment for the district is 4,982. DeKalb Schools originally forecasted to have 7,484 students in Kindergarten. There are 2,502 fewer kindergarten students than projected. Pre-K enrollment is down by 453 students. The originally projected Pre-K enrollment was 2,555.

Chromebook Distribution
The administration tells me this is the current status of Chromebook distribution.

• Phase I – Distribution to Grades 3-12 – 100% Complete
• Phase II – Distribution to Grades 1-2 – 100% Complete
• Phase II – Distribution to K and PreK – 0% Complete (Waiting on shipment of devices)

IT is shifting the repair strategy to prioritize new student repair requests balanced with the existing repairs form this summer.

48 responses to “COVID-19 Cases Trending Down

  1. Help me understand

    Stan, people travel all across the state so why are we only looking at downward trends in Dekalb. People visit relatives in other counties.

    7
  2. Well this news sits very well for the anti-maskers and their political strategies . We are talking about a virus that is continuing to cause havoc around the entire WORLD. A virus that we still
    know so little about , but we are willing to risk lives and health for the sake of politics
    and inconvenience. This is very sad.

    14
  3. Confused Parent

    @Stan Jester- Who makes the final decision on the reopening plan? It seemed like several board members did not like the plan presented on Monday. Can you explain the process?

    6
  4. DSW2Contributor

    I’m not an epidemiologist nor do I play one on the internet.

    I did once read that it can take 3 or 4 *weeks* for Covid spread to show up in the Georgia Health Department data. People get infected, then they do not have any symptoms for up to 14 days, then a few more days pass before they can get tested, and then a few more days pass until their test results come back and are reported to the state.

    If that is still correct, then the spread of Covid that happened over Labor Day will not show up in the testing numbers until the last week of this month.

    11
  5. IF/WHEN we reach the threshold to return to the buildings, what will be the process to engage families to determine who’s returning vs remaining virtual?

    3
  6. How can a graph chart determine that its safe to return to the schools if cases drop a little. Faculty & Staff members do not feel comfortable returning to the buildings and should not be going back in the schools before January. After Thanksgiving & Christmas the COVID-19 cases will spike back up again. Yall need to make better choices or no one will be showing up to teach the children.

    22
  7. It is so sad and dissapointing that the superintendent in DeKalb is considering opening up the school buildings. The only support we had in the board meeting was from the board members speaking up. DeKalb County Schools should remain closed until January. The holidays are approaching and to open school then cases rise and children have to go back virtual. This awful. Yall want people to risk their lives. Schools have no hot water, no Plexiglas over staff desk. No social distancing can take place in the hallways. Its not right

    19
  8. Past time to reopen

    It’s past time to reopen schools. Gwinnett has reopened and they have more cases than DeKalb. Can anyone tell me the number of schools they’ve had to shut down due to COVID?

    Cherokee had a major stupid moment when schools restarted, as did most universities across the country. However, have you noticed what happens after two weeks? The numbers go down. What’s happening is it’s taking each community/school time to figure out exactly what they need to do and how to make it work with their population.

    DeKalb should be visiting schools where it’s working and learning what they’ve done to minimize this initial surge when schools here reopen. And yes, there will be still be a surge, because you’re bringing people back together. But that will happen now or in three months. The key is minimize it as best you can, and get past it so schools can return to normal and our children can learn.

    12
  9. Some Fulton teachers urge: Push back timeline for face-to-face classes

    https://www.ajc.com/education/get-schooled-blog/some-fulton-teachers-urge-push-back-timeline-for-face-to-face-classes/WLDVZDWWA5BELGKR4GE22QTWOM/

    DeKalb teachers are not the only educators that have concerns.

    12
  10. I have heard some people advocating that DCSD should remain 100% virtual until January. I’m curious. What makes January different than December or February or March?

    3
  11. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^ Just for you, “Past time to reopen”:
    GWINNETT COUNTY, GA (WGCL) — Parents with kids at Mill Creek High School were shocked to learn 71 people from the school are in quarantine after the principal says individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 came to school while sick.”

    “My daughter has not set foot in that school yet so that’s a relief to me and my family. It’s scary to think she could have been one of those kids,” said Alex M. whose daughter attends the school.

    The school says there are three confirmed cases, one suspected case and 67 close contacts who are now in quarantine.
    https://keyt.com/news/national-world/2020/09/18/71-students-and-staff-members-quarantine-after-covid-positive-students-attend-school/

    7
  12. Ben,
    What month is the Presidential Inauguration? Depending on who wins, the numbers will either hit a reset or continue until 2024.

    8
  13. DSW2Contributor

    “Georgia School District to Teachers With Health Problems: Tough Luck”
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/gwinnett-county-georgia-forces-teachers-with-health-problems-to-work-in-classrooms-despite-covid-19?ref=home

    Quote: “A Gwinnett County spokesperson said 42 teachers had resigned over COVID-19 concerns so far. “

    6
  14. Mill Creek High School says people sick with COVID-19 came to school; 71 individuals now added to quarantine list

  15. I’m so conflicted on this topic. On the one hand, I don’t want to endanger the teachers and staff or the students. On the other hand, because we both work, we are having to pay for both of our elementary age sons to go to daycare for help with their learning and it is a huge, and unplanned, expense for us. In fact, our youngest is a kindergartener this year, and because we couldn’t imagine our 5 1/2 year old energetic little boy getting anything out of virtual kindergarten, we made the choice to withdraw him from DES and put him in our daycare’s in person kindergarten class. Which raises another point. Obviously it’s a much smaller population size, but most daycares reopened over the summer (making changes as needed) and there was no sudden uptick of cases in the children or staff. Is there actual data to support the assumption that going back to school increases one’s risk of contracting COVID? There are no right answers, but while virtual is going ok for our daycare assisted 4th grader, not being in school has not been good for him. To me, BOTH the COVID spread rates and the needs of the students stuck at a computer, often with little to no help (due to parents having to work), need to be factors in the decision about when to go back.

    2
  16. A question: do we have any numbers of how many students overall have left the District for private or home schooling? How many have simply vanished? Any break down to where those students are?

    1
  17. One argument might be to run the rest of this semester as 100% Virtual regardless of the numbers

    And, if the case count has been substantially below 100 from Thanksgiving on, to open as fully normal (no hybrid, no social distancing rules, no mask mandates, etc) in January.

    1
  18. Not sure about that 100% Chromebook distribution. We have students without a device that are still waiting. More importantly we have students with a device but no internet! Hotspots are needed, badly. These students are falling further behind, and many want to participate.

    3
  19. No
    The idea that Covid hits Black people harder is fake news: https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/08/study-finds-no-race-difference-covid-19-hospital-deaths

    But school closures have hurt Black students more
    https://www.gpb.org/news/2020/08/26/inequality-gap-among-atlanta-students-may-grow-due-covid-19-pandemic-experts-say

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/2020/9/11/21431146/hispanic-and-black-students-more-likely-than-white-students-to-start-the-school-year-online

    So, if some of those on this thread are really interested in helping our Black children, they might want to do a rethink. This issue has been needlessly politicized by both parties, so much so that we cannot think clearly. If we were honest, the school closures are the worst thing to happen to Black education in this country since (at least) the end of Jim Crow. If it had been pushed as a policy by Republicans, many of us would be demonstrating against what we would call a racist policy.
    But, since it has been perceived as helping the Democratic Party, we have turned a blind eye.

    4
  20. New Normal Won't Be Normal at All

    WHY have the teachers and staff members not been polled separately (and not by lame survey questions) to see how many are willing to return and then given the choice?

    My bet is that the county (and those pushing for in-person learning) doesn’t really want to know the cold, hard numbers.

    And what makes the in-person learning pushers think that going back into a building will magically make things “normal?” Virtual learning will continue if teachers are forced back into unsafe buildings, because we will be expected to do double duty (virtual and in-person). So, it’s not like the kids will be getting anything different than they are now, it will just be done in a riskier setting. But I guess you won’t have to pay for daycare or babysitters, so good for you.

    Teachers just want the same option that is being offered to parents.

    16
  21. Are you sure 1st chromebooks have been distributed? I have not heard from my daughter’s school that they are available for pickup.

  22. Chromebooks … that is the update I was given. I don’t have an effective way to verify that claim county wide.

  23. I am curious as to why 2nd, 6th and 9th graders should be the first to start back? It would make more sense if the students who are really having the most difficulty should be the ones to return first. Those would include special needs, ESOL, and the young kids in kindergarten And elementary school who need that socialization aspect for development and learning. Cobb county is doing something similar so that the youngest kids and the special needs kids are the first ones to go back while the others remain virtual.

    1
  24. Jen G, Daycare and Schools May not be a very good comparison. How many students and teachers are in each daycare you are citing as not having an uptick in cases? Some of our elementary schools have 900 students plus staff and teachers. The students come from different communities for choice schools, and teachers live in DeKalb, Atlanta, Decatur, Gwinnett, and beyond. It seems the setting will be riskier than a day care setting.

    5
  25. @Swan125, I don’t know why they chose those grades. Like you said, seems similar to Cobb. Perhaps some sort of rhyme and reason.

    1
  26. Does everyone remember how the virus spread on the cruise ships? The school buildings are similar to a cruise ship. Tiny rooms packed with a lot of people. The difference is people leave after 8 or more hours and return the next day.

    One of my student’s father from last school year passed away over the summer from Covid, and he was in his 20’s. It was very sad to hear and I hope her family is coping. This is not virus that only affects the elderly. Parents are at risk and so are the teachers and staff. Obesity is considered a preexisting condition, but I’m not sure how many people know they are actually obese. Obesity is basically 20-30 pounds overweight, which many of my students’ family members are. Is Dekalb going to educate parents about preexisting conditions before opening the schools? I hear a lot of obese people refer to themselves as “curvy” so they may not know they are truly considered obese by the medical community. I’m not sure how Dekalb can inform parents, but they need to know. Maybe give a weight/height chart to families and show a graph of normal weight, over weight or obese and families can see where they fall on the chart? Will there be a sign off form acknowledging if they have a preexisting condition their risk of death goes way up? Many students have grandparents living with them and I have seen a lot of obesity from them too. I do care about the health of everyone and I’m worried about getting the virus at school and possibly infecting one of my loved ones who has a preexisting condition and living with that grief for the rest of my life if they become ill or pass away. Then I’ll have to deal with the fact that I chose $ over my health and my family’s health, if I return to the school to work.

    There won’t be socialization in the classroom because of safety so the excuse that your children need to socialize is not true. They can socialize more on zoom than in person wearing a mask. Do you socialize with your mask on standing 6 feet apart? I can barely understand what people say with a mask on and I’m an adult. Oh my goodness, I’m imagining teaching with a mask on . The children won’t be able to understand anything.

    10
  27. A high school in a south Georgia county is stopping in-person instruction for 10 days because of high numbers of COVID-19 exposures

    https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-news/covid-19-suspends-in-person-high-school-in-south-georgia/MEZF5EFWE5H2VH2UP7HYEUHF6A/

    2
  28. Europe is declaring their second wave is hitting now. It’s only a matter of time before it makes it over to our side of the planet. The news in Georgia is reporting a rise in deaths among 18-29 year olds. This is becoming scary again.

    6
  29. Tongue in cheek

    Past time to reopen
    Why don’t you show up to a classroom of potential Covid spreaders. Big talk from someone who has no risk by returning to a classroom!!

    7
  30. Let’s be honest and realistic.
    The numbers are not going to drop below 100/100,000 and stay that way for 14 straight days.
    It’s just not happening in Dekalb or anywhere in metro Atlanta.
    We will be virtual for the foreseeable future, maybe even the entire school year.
    I know someone who teaches in New Jersey and they have been told to plan on virtual until March!
    it doesn’t have to be analyzed, dissected and complicated because in person school is not happening in Dekalb anytime in the near future even if we get a vaccine because it will take months to years to innoculate people.

    3
  31. DSW2Contributor

    ^Dunwoody Diva, here are some current case per 100K (last 2 weeks) rates as of 2:50 PM today, according to the Department of Health:

    92 – Rockdale
    95 – Fayette
    115 – Dekalb
    127 – Fulton
    139 – Forsyth
    153 – Cobb
    188 – Douglas
    203 – Cherokee
    215 – Bartow
    218 – Georgia as a whole
    292 – Hall
    296 – Henry
    306 – Clayton

    Parents look at Dekalb’s rate and see that Dekalb’s rate is lower than the rates in the surrounding counties where classes are being held in person. This pisses the parents off and they start screaming “why the (F-bomb) are school buildings closed? This is understandable – they are tired of being stuck at home with their little (expletives), I mean angels.

    I look at the Cases per 100K rates of the different counties and I calmly think to myself, No S— Sherlock, the spread is lower in the counties where the schools are closed.

    The problem for us is that DCSD leadership generally capitulates to whoever yells the loudest, no matter how crazy/insane they may be.

    7
  32. Tongue in cheek

    Dunwoody diva
    From your mouth to G-d’s. Ears.

    2
  33. Common Sense Isn't

    @DSW2Contributor, you state “I look at the Cases per 100K rates of the different counties and I calmly think to myself, No S— Sherlock, the spread is lower in the counties where the schools are closed.”

    Fayette county has been open for in-person/hybrid since Aug 17th and they have a lower case/100k rate. How do you explain that?

    And for those counties that have re-opened to in-person/hybrid and DO have a higher rate/100k than Dekalb, are those counties experiencing increases or decreases in community spread from when they re-opened? I’ll save you the google, its DECREASING.

    The idea of shutting down schools was out of fear for increases in community spread. Paulding County, which we all saw those pictures from the high school all over the news, had a 7 day avg on Aug 3rd of 37 cases. As of 9/20, their 7 day avg is 15 cases.

    37 > 15. Schools open, but cases going down…..I’ll let you work on that narrative.

    2
  34. I just read this: “The US Centers for Disease Control has admitted for the first time that coronavirus is airborne as it updated its guidelines on how the virus spreads. The agency previously said the disease was spread via large droplets expelled when a patient coughs and sneezes, infecting people in close contact with them.But the new guidelines, updated on Friday, acknowledge ‘growing evidence’ that the virus can be spread via very small droplets expelled when a patient breathes, can linger in the air, and travel further than six feet.”
    The second wave is going through Europe now and last time it took 1 month to get here, so is it safe to say doing in person teaching is too dangerous? I think so. Children can not be expected to wear a mask for 8 hours. This virus will be floating around in the air and on objects in every school.

    5
  35. What is the actual status of HVAC systems? My classroom has not had properly working HVAC for the last 1.5 years. There are two portable AC units but they don’t really cool the classroom and there is no way they would properly filter the air in a Covid environment. Down the hallway from my room there are garbage cans that sit in the middle of the hallway collecting water that drips from the ceiling.

    From my understanding, students will be remote 3, then 2, days a week to start and in person the other days. While remote they will attend their classes from home. With the current virtual schedule for high school, students are on a block schedule and only in class from 9:45-1:50 at the longest. When we go in person will we shift back to the normal 8am-3pm schedule with 7 classes a day? Will students who are remote now be required to sit at their computer all day? This seems like an unmanageable plan for teachers, students, and parents.

    For all the information provided in the board meeting there was a serious lack of detail, not very reassuring.

    7
  36. DeKalbTeacher2020

    Stan, can we access the data regarding cases per 100K in DeKalb that you all are using to determine when we go back? Is it on a particular website?

  37. DeKalb Schools Calculations To Move To Hybrid are the conditions under which the school district would transition to a hybrid learning environment. The Georgia Department of Public Health provides a daily report with the data points used to make these calculations.

    1
  38. Stan, is 14 days of 99 per 100,000 an automatic trigger, or does the BOE have to vote?

    1
  39. @Common Sense Isn’t

    In response to your earlier post, “Fayette county has been open for in-person/hybrid since Aug 17th and they have a lower case/100k rate. How do you explain that?”
    The best way to explain the lower cases of Covid in Fayette County vs Dekalb County is the total population in Fayette County is about 119k people according to 2019 data. Dekalb County has over 759K people as of 2019. It makes sense that the virus would be more prevalent in areas with larger population amounts.

    3
  40. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^^^^@Common Sense Isn’t asked: “Fayette county has been open for in-person/hybrid since Aug 17th and they have a lower case/100k rate. How do you explain that?”
    ————————————–

    DPH changed their website again, so I don’t know where you saw that Fayette County is going down. DPH is showing the opposite — Fayette County is a red-shaded “Emerging Counties of Interest 9/05 to 9/18” according to this graphic:
    https://countyindicatororeport.s3.amazonaws.com/county_indicator_report+9-21-2020.html#emerging-counties
    The graphic’s label indicates that the county has had a 5% INCREASE in COVID syndrome AND 5% INCREASE in COVID cases.

    Look closely and you will see that DeKalb is NOT one of the Emerging Counties of Interest.

    1
  41. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^ @Who decides?

    My understanding is that the BOE is *NOT* supposed to decide on the return to in-person classes.

    Legally, DCSD and its schools are open — students are enrolled, classes are being held, teachers are teaching, attendance is being taken, grades are being given, lunches are being delivered, principals are supervising, etc., etc.

    This means that the the decision when to go back to in-person learning is really a decision about how to teach classes, an area that the BOE is not supposed to meddle in. I also presume this is also why the Palace presented the BOE with a “plan” about reopening — the BOE can approve plans, but the actual execution is left to the Superintendent.

    3
  42. @Young Teach, you raise very important questions!

    The most basic question is to ask,
    When hybrid learning begins, what will be the hours?

    On any given day, some students will be in the building and some will be at home. Will these two groups of students have the same schedule?

    Remember, the virtual learning schedule is completely different from the regular face-to-face schedule.

    For example, in a 7 period day high school, a student gets approximately 350 minutes/week for each of 7 classes.

    During the current virtual schedule a student gets only 90 minutes/week for each of 7 classes.

    The BOE needs to up their game and ask these same kinds of questions.

    6
  43. I spoke to a parent yesterday who’s child hasn’t been online recently and she said her and her entire family have been sick for a week. She was coughing the entire phone call and it sounded really bad. Imagine if we were doing face to face instruction. I’d be living in total fear right now that my class may have been hit by Covid. I’m so thankful we are virtual. I do not know if her family has Covid, but her cough sounded horrible and she kept saying they were all very ill. It can happen so fast. If we were in person learning right now and a whole family is sick with coughing, do we keep going to class? Quarantine? Will the family be required to get tested? Will the stigma of having Covid prevent people from notifying the school that they have it? I’m thankful Dekalb is virtual.

    7
  44. Common Sense Isn't

    @What gives: “The best way to explain the lower cases of Covid in Fayette County vs Dekalb County is the total population in Fayette County is about 119k people according to 2019 data. Dekalb County has over 759K people as of 2019. It makes sense that the virus would be more prevalent in areas with larger population amounts.”

    I’m not sure you understand the concept of cases/100k. You use that metric to normalize differences in population.

    As per @DSW2Contributor, Fayette’s case/100k is 88/100k over the last 2 weeks to Dekalb’s 117/100k. Even though they’ve been in school/hybrid for over a month. So Fayette county maintains “better” metrics, which goes against your thesis of “no sh#t sherlock, of course…”

    We can go back and forth on data and its validity/manipulation til were all blue in the face so I don’t mean to go down that rabbit hole, its not worth anyone’s time.

    The simple question remains, “Does having school in-person/hybrid lead to unmanageable viral spread?”

    Based on the evidence of those counties/districts which have opted for that model, it doesn’t.

    2
  45. Dunwoody Teach

    If DCSD has fixed the HVAC and mandates social distancing & masks I think most teachers are fine with going back.

    The problem is most schools can’t do at least the first two. Probably not the third either.

    5
  46. Gwinnett teacher quits- Again teachers not following the rules and guidelines. Shame on you.

    “Worsening the problem is that even some teachers are not taking masks or social distancing seriously. Even the science teachers who should know better aren’t, which baffles me.

    At my school, I regularly see teachers not wearing masks, socializing within two feet. I mention it to them, send emails with my concerns to the administration, and stay well away. Since I only leave my room once or twice during the day to go to the restroom, I see a tiny fraction of my co-workers.

    Yet, walking from my car to my classroom, I saw six teachers with no masks covering their mouth or nose. The masks were worn as chin straps, if worn at all. During pre-planning, one such staff member was in a group putting together the school’s safety and emergency folders. Irony.

    Let’s be clear. There are signs posted stating masks are mandatory. We get reminders from the administration. We had two (albeit super-brief, maybe 10 minutes total) “staff developments” on COVID-19 safety.

    Today, each time I was out of my room, I saw teachers with no masks, and we have kids in the building now that are seeing this and learning the wrong lesson. From their teachers, no less

    Why? Because teachers are not medical professionals. It hasn’t been drilled into us through long training and by seeing diseases firsthand. We don’t have contagions in front of us every day.

    Most don’t get the virus doesn’t care if we’re slack in our habits. They don’t understand that to this virus, we, the teachers, are a tasty blood-bag buffet, while it looks for the next walking buffet.”

    1
  47. Stan. I consider myself to be an optimistic person. I totally agree with not returning until the numbers are below 100. However, I can’t help but wonder what happens if the numbers don’t decrease for awhile. For instance, the next school year or beyond. I enjoy working from home but, nothing last forever! The powers that be have no control over this virus and how long it will last. Is DCSD ready to remain virtual for as long as it takes, or do you think they will have no choice but to alter their expectations on the per capita numbers (which wont be a good look)?

  48. @StaffMember, As you know, many school districts are back in the classroom. Also, the district is doing some MAP testing. I’m guessing the infection rate of these other districts and results of MAP testing will weigh heavily on their decision to go back in the Spring.

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