Re-Open Athletics & Schedule

DeKalb Schools will implement a phase in approach to allow athletic and extra curricular activity to return. This is voluntary and there is no mandate for students or coaches to participate.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) is an organization that governs athletics and activities for member high schools in Georgia. GHSA recommended opening varsity sports the week of September 4. GHSA has published recommended Contest Day Operations. DeKalb Schools is waiting until the first week of October to begin varsity competition.

Metrics Utilized to Determine a Safe Return for Athletics
• As reported by DeKalb Schools, data reviewed from the DeKalb County Board of Health report dated September 10 2020 shows a steady decline over the last 14 days in COVID related deaths, hospitalizations and cases
• The COVID 19 test positivity rate for DeKalb Athletics since July 1 2020 is 0.5982% (18/3009 athletes and coaches) The COVID 19 test positivity rate for DeKalb Athletics for the last 14 days is 0.0997% (3/3009 athletes and coaches)

Competition Begins Oct 1, 2020

Game Day Operations
• Face masks/coverings will be worn
• Transportation will follow Operations bus guidelines
• Sideline benches/staff will be positioned for social distancing
• Enhanced cleaning/disinfecting of facilities, including locker rooms, between and after competitions

Phase In Considerations (After Initial Return)
• Concessions (pre packaged items)
• Spectators (based on each stadium/school gym capacity)
• Cashless purchases of tickets
• Band and auxiliary activities
• JROTC participation

COVID-19 RE OPENING TASK FORCE

• Vasanne Tinsley, Student Support and Intervention • Stacy Stepney, Curriculum and Instruction
• Connie Walker, School Nutrition • Monika Davis, Information Technology
• Noel Maloof, Facilities and Operations • Dr. Linda Frazer, Accountability
• Mr. Antwyn Brown, Superintendent’s Office/Communications • Dr. Deborah Moore Sanders, Student Support and Intervention
• Mrs. JoAnn Harris, Student Support and Intervention (Student Health) • Ms. Masana Mailliard, Finance
• Dr. Quentin Fretwell, Pandemic Specialist • Mr. James Jackson, Student Support and Intervention (Athletics)
• Mrs. Melanie Pearch Region I • Mr. Trenton Arnold, Region II
• Dr. Sean Tartt, Region III • Dr. Michelle Jones, Region IV
• Dr. Triscilla Weaver, Region V • Mrs. Pamela Benford , Region VI
• Dr. Rodney Swanson, Region VII

38 responses to “Re-Open Athletics & Schedule

  1. I have had it with Dekalb

    So just to be clear… we can do contact sports like football and sports that violate social distancing guidelines like baseball and volleyball … but special Ed children can’t get the in support services they need.
    Talk about a case of the haves and the have nots …. once again athletes are prioritized over educational needs!!

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  2. Give me a break. We can have athletics but not in person classes, at least for elementary aged kids? Dekalb is such a disappointment.

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  3. unreal. A perfectly executed plan for sports but not school. The embarassing plot thickens every day with Dekalb.

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  4. The difference is that sports are VOLUNTARY for students and coaches!!! In school instruction is not! When we can have employees VOLUNTEER to be F2F or virtual… then we can open back up. Until then virtual it is!!!

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  5. Don't tase me, bro!

    Will school resource officers be allowed to arrest spectators who don’t wear masks? Will school resource officers be allowed to use their Tasers against maskless moms, similar to what happened in Logan, Ohio at a junior high football game? Can’t wait for that mom’s lawsuit.

    2
  6. Ohio has a mask mandate. All Georgia residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable while outside their home or place of residents, except when eating, drinking, or exercising outdoors.

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  7. not a pandemic specialist

    Can the district stop referring to Fretwell as a “Pandemic Specialist?” It is like the Onion gave that guy his title. I have not been able to find anything that would qualify him as an expert in anything infectious disease related. I think that when they created the list of task force personnel a comedian at the central office gave him that title as a joke and forgot to replace it.

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  8. Interesting to see Quentin Fretwell’s name listed. Per OpenGa, he is a substitute. What’s striking is he earns over 70k a year, as a retiree. Can you explain this Stan or would Richard Belcher do a better job? The rampant corruption in this district is horrendous. Maybe you can also find out why we have administrators being hired who do not possess the right certification. Hundreds of qualified and certified candidates are being turned away so friends can play.

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  9. Quentin Fretwell? Can you expound on this? I don’t have any idea who that is or what you are talking about. –Stan

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  10. Quentin Fretwell

    Sure, I will indulge you. Per the document you released, Quentin Fretwell is a “Pandemic Specialist”
    Per the district’s directory he is an administrative substitute with Student Discipline
    Per the state of GA, the district pays him 62k a year as a substitute.
    He facilitated one training EVERY year about bullying.
    Why are we paying a substitute to do something numerous well qualified and highly paid central office and/or discipline office executives can do?
    Hope this helps, BTW… only the tip of the iceberg

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  11. STAN, why are you staying so silent in these board meetings? We all know your term is up in January but we need your voice!!!!!
    Please advocate for our children to return to school.

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  12. I see that Fretwell is on the Taskforce. How do you know what Fretwell’s calendar is?

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  13. not a pandemic specialist

    This is my take. He’s an education guy. He is probably qualified for education things. Like being an advisor on educational issues related to covid school closings. But a “pandemic specialist” he is not. Having his Onion-esqe title as part of the re-opening committee implies that someone with an expertise in pandemics is helping. That is not true. There are no people with non-school-related public health expertise helping with school re-opening. How many DCSD children have parents who work at the CDC? Like seriously there are a myriad of MPH/MD/DO/PHD folks in dekalb who would have some public health guidance to offer (and from the last board meeting it seems that after 6 months those people are finally being included – yeah!).

    I don’t have an opinion or knowledge of his other employment with the board/school district and the legitimacy of said employment. Just stop putting “pandemic specialist” on stuff. Put “guy with expertise in school bullying.” Not saying Fretwell wouldn’t have useful insight in something but it is disingenuous to imply DCSD has a pandemic specialist on the re-opening committee.

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  14. Dr. Fretwell…nice guy, good backstory. Former admin and then bullying specialist. No way he should be in charge of the covid response. Doing pretty well for a retiree!

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  15. Gwinnett teacher quits- Again teachers not following the rules and guidelines.

    “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.”

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  16. SO, DCSD has a NO SPECTATOR rule for football?! I’m a parent of a cheerleader. Why do we have cheerleaders if there won’t be any fans to lead cheers to support their teams? This is just too much! Bigger than all of that, DCSD has failed to effectively communicate this to parents, stakeholders and the general community.

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  17. agree @ edugator and @not a pandemic specialist. Crazy that the task force has had months to tap into the health expert resources (many who are parents in DCSD) right here in DeKalb to serve on the task force. Similarly, teachers and principals weren’t invited to be at the table, much less a valued part of the conversations.

    Does this teacher’s experience sound familiar: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/25/opinions/nyc-school-reopening-fiasco-teacher-perspective-geduld/index.html

  18. Hello @A.Turner, The administration said, phased in considerations “Spectators (based on each stadium/school gym capacity)”. I’m not sure how serious the administration is about this. The administration is still reluctant to let a few teachers teach virtually from school even though they regularly work from the central office.

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  19. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/10/05/the-students-left-behind-by-remote-learning?fbclid=IwAR2f_Y3cqvGG-TgrLEQSwkXCAYIQW0pKF-dPYMwYbEiRCblaBLk43wnHvTo

    This is devasting, depressing, and should make all of us angry.

    I just don’t see how the administration can continue to go down this path. Miami Dade is opening full 5 days a week face to face with a virtual option. I would imagine their demographics are similar to Dekalb – except they are three times the size. Stan, Dekalb CAN do this – it’s going to take brave people educating teachers and parents who are willing to listen to actual data and not media scare tactics. Is there any plan to do this?

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  20. Hello @Danielle. My plan is to educate parents, teachers and the community on my blog as well as talk to board members and administrators.

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  21. concerned citizen

    Stan, you are a one in a million man! This school system will simply shut down and never again will anything valuable get said. I can’t blame you for leaving; God only knows how you’ve done such a magnificent job for us in DeKalb. Does everyone appreciate you? I was stunned to see how ugly and mean some of these commentors are! Shame, shame, shame on them. They are so jealous of you – it’s sickening. Thanks for your wonderful work, Stan and Nancy. You are such unselfish, brilliant people. I have the greatest respect for you both. Thank you. On another sad note, those people who are on the “list” to provide guidance, OMG!This is the same old, tired list of dummies, over and over. Sickening!

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  22. My original question:
    SO, DCSD has a NO SPECTATOR rule for football?! I’m a parent of a cheerleader. Why do we have cheerleaders if there won’t be any fans to lead cheers to support their teams? This is just too much! Bigger than all of that, DCSD has failed to effectively communicate this to parents, stakeholders and the general community.
    @Stan. Your response:
    Hello @A.Turner, The administration said, phased in considerations “Spectators (based on each stadium/school gym capacity)”. I’m not sure how serious the administration is about this. The administration is still reluctant to let a few teachers teach virtually from school even though they regularly work from the central office.

    I’m confused. Since we are a cashless operation and all ticket sales will go through GoFan. GoFan has not released tickets for any home games. With the first week of football being this week, it doesn’t look promising that spectators will be allowed. Look, I get it. We are in unprecedented times. We just need to effectively communicate all steps/decisions.

  23. Hello @A.Turner. The administration is going to consider having fans starting the 3rd week of competition. My understanding is that coaches across DeKalb are scrambling to make all games away games so parents can watch their kids play.

  24. Concerned Citizen

    “Coaches across DeKalb are scrambling to make all games away games so parents can watch their kids play.” *sigh* Quarantine the sick—do not quarantine the healthy. If you’re sick (you have shortness of breath or a sore throat or a cough or a fever), stay at home. If you’re healthy, go cheer for your kids. The odds of asymptomatic persons passing along a riproaring iteration of the virus are small.

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  25. Concerned Teacher

    What’s the word on the street with the reopening plan? Just checked our numbers and were at 103 cases per 100k for the past 2 weeks. The original plan had the week of October 5th as beginning phase 2. In the last superintendents message, she stated “we will only return scholars to face-to-face learning when the risk for the spread of COVID-19 becomes moderate or minimal – less than 100 cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day period.” It says nothing about employees. If I’m to begin a hybrid work environment, I want to be told in advance instead of the night before. DCSD needs to be doing a better job at communicating information and expectations to staff in regards to reopening. My colleagues and I know nothing about returning or even the classroom expectations for when we are able to return. Why is the reopening plan so basic with the details? Teachers need to know the guidelines DCSD is following when we reopen our classrooms. I’m referring to specific guidelines that will impact our day to day teaching. Every district has their own rules and expectations of how they are handing certain aspects like supplies, student lunches, recess, etc. Some of us would like to prepare as much as we can in advance versus scrambling around at the last minute like DCSD always has us do. Those of us who teach in elementary schools need to make visuals to help support the expectations in our new normal. We don’t like being in the dark about what is going on especially if we’re the ones that are going to be at risk!

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  26. @Concerned Teacher. Teachers will be given a weeks notice before they have to start working from the school building. Teachers will then work from the school building for 2 weeks while the students remain 100% virtual. So, teachers should expect to have 3 weeks notice before going from virtual to hybrid (except for grades 2nd, 6th and 9th which will come back a couple days earlier).

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  27. Concerned Teacher

    I appreciate your response and I understand all of that. I guess I’m feeling like there is a lot of upfront work that needs to be done prior to anyone stepping foot in the building. I think it’s extremely important for parents to make a virtual vs remote choice so schools can better prepare, determining cohorts, determining if student cohorts need to change based on siblings, reviewing rules and procedures with staff on what to expect when we return back to our classrooms, and anything else to prepare for the COVID classroom. DCSD is putting all this time and energy into MAP testing when really the focus should be on what can be done to make sure staff/students feel comfortable returning to the classroom. DCSD has had a lot of time to develop a plan yet I feel like we’re on the “wait and see what happens” plan or the “We will throw a plan together once the numbers drop” plan. I know there is most likely a lot of behind the scenes things going on, but I was disappointed with last board meeting as I felt like most of it was the same regurgitated information from the meeting prior to that. Buying hand sanitizer stations, having water bottle refill stations, and posting signage isn’t going to mean anything unless expectations/procedures/policies are clearly told to staff and students. Parents deserve to know what their child’s day will look like when making a choice to return into the classroom or not. What a lot of the board members and higher ups in DCSD don’t realize is that we still need time to set up classrooms. When will we have time to do that? Those first few weeks we will still be teaching students virtually. Teaching virtually from my classroom and actually being able to work in my classroom are two different things. Many of us are spending the majority of our day being live (I teach multiple grade levels and am live for almost 5 hours each day) than we are supposed to be because we’re trying to support our students especially those who don’t have the language or technology proficiency to work independently. This doesn’t include catching up on emails and parent communication, inputting data, preparing for map testing, creating lesson plans, grading, and the countless hours teachers are having to watch YouTube videos to figure out how to do things in Google Classroom, how to make virtual activities, and any other virtual learning learning tips/tricks that might make our lives easier. At the beginning of the the school year, I had high expectations going into the PDI training as I hoped it would make me feel more comfortable transitioning into teaching virtually. Unfortunately, I’ve had to teach myself about Google Classroom during my own personal time. I’m not saying the information I learned during PDI wasn’t knowledgeable, but it would’ve made more sense to make the PDI days more applicable to virtual learning and helped prepared us more for that setting. This whole school year has been nothing but a slap in the face for teachers. We’re working harder and more hours yet getting paid a lot less. Teacher resignations may be low right now, but I guarantee DCSD will be filling a lot of positions come next school year especially if how we’re treated isn’t changed. I know a few teachers who will be leaving after this school year. One told me had they known about all the furlough days and DCSDs plan to do virtual well in advance, then they would’ve lined up another job. My hope is that DCSD can redeem themselves and help boost teacher morale because we sure do need it because if virtual learning has taught me anything it’s who is actually working hard and who is pretty much getting a paid vacation.

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  28. @concerned teacher,

    Not to mention the time being spent on TKES (at least at my school). We keep hearing about evaluations, virtual walkthroughs, standards, expectations, etc. How about just be glad you have teachers that are doing our jobs and helping students and doing the best we can keeping it all together? It’s really just too much.

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  29. Concerned Teacher

    @Really???,

    Oh how forgetful of me. Yes, I did fail to mention TKES and completing all of the beginning of the year components (orientation, self-assessment, goal setting, conference). I am curious on how it’s appropriate to evaluate teachers virtually when all of this is new to everyone and with little training we received.. Honestly, DCSD is engaging in a lot of inappropriate practices such as the administration of diagnostic testing to elementary aged students while virtual. Does the district hate us that much? Do they not realize what a challenge it is especially when English is not the primary language spoken at home? Oh wait. The language line is supposed to be the answer to our communication problems. Have kids? Then you get double a whammy with trying to balance work and your kids remote learning. And behind door #3 Johnny, you get forced back to work even if your child is immune compromised and told to take medical leave if that’s a problem.. Way to work with your employees DCSD!

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  30. Stay Safe - Stay Home

    Schools and HR better get ready to fill teaching positions if they decide to reopen schools before the staff feels safe. What did the recent survey say about the staff feeling comfortable in returning to the buildings? As soon as the information was out regarding the possibility of coming back in the near future, a fellow teacher said that he is preparing his retirement papers. I think a lot of staff that are at or close to retirement will do the same. I hope DeKalb stays cautious and continues virtual learning.

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  31. Will the results of the survey be available before the next board meeting?

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  32. Demographics

    Weekly dose of TOD blog

    Virtual Reality
    The rhetoric around a return to in-class instruction is heating up in Dekalb. Hyperbolic comments (no risk is worth taking; blood on hands) are being made and hard-line stances (quit before I go back) have been taken. Some of this is emotional, perhaps the result of fear-mongering from some camps and some is political-after all, what isn’t these days? In one sense this is a detachment from reality but in another this is all very real. And it suggests a very interesting thought exercise.

    Let’s take the “hell no, we won’t go” teachers’ position, take them at their word and see where that takes us. It may just be a better place.

    If we accept that virtual learning is the exclusive modality until such a time as there is no risk of anyone, particularly teachers and their loved ones, falling ill due to SARS-CoV2 then what does that really mean? Even with a vaccine that meets the FDA sixty percent efficacy and given the presence of clandestine anti-vaxxers the condition for return-to-school will not be met for the foreseeable future, if ever. And now reports are emerging of a virus mutation that is even more contagious than the previous variant. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that all “learning” will be “virtual” from here on.

    There is an issue on which teachers have been somewhat contradictory. In spring there was much concern about the effectiveness of virtual learning, about the difficulty (primarily for the teachers) and confusion around the technology involved. More recently in their push back against returning to the classroom protesting teachers are waving placards touting their skills: “I can teach online just fine.” Clearly that needs to be evaluated and fortunately there is a “control” for comparison.

    And this is where parents come into play. They’ve been exposed to classroom teachers pivoting to virtual but Georgia is blessed with several online/virtual academies. These operations were built from the ground up for exactly the modality that classroom teachers are (indirectly and inadvertently) demanding. It should be a straightforward comparison between a classroom teacher who seems to think a bitmoji classroom is critical vs someone who is a “virtual native.”

    This brings us to the fun part of the thought experiment: what does the future hold?

    For parents and their children it offers flexibility and mobility in the day-to-day and longer-term. Once education is virtual, why stay in DeKalb? The real estate market hasn’t crashed, mortgage rates are low and a move to a lower-cost locale would free up cash to cover the cost of proctoring/supervision. If the wage earners are remote workers all one really needs is reliable, high speed internet. There is the issue of special needs students who cannot be remote but by removing a majority of students in-person facilities can be made safe for these students and their teachers and more resources will be available for their needs.

    For classroom teachers the situation is a bit bleak. They may prefer “virtual learning” to what they dramatize as “certain death” but what hasn’t sunk in is this means they are now remote workers. Begs some questions. Are they remote enough? Could we obtain more bang for fewer bucks with English teachers in Iowa and Math teachers in Massachusetts? Do they even need to be in this country? Many foreigners do quite well in English and are far more conversant in Math than the average U.S. K-12 teacher.

    Which leads another consequence of virtual learning. Thinking that all you need to do is video conference or live-stream your normal classroom performance is wrong thinking. This is a major paradigm shift and, as classroom teachers are pointing out, this requires a completely different process. It also offers enormous opportunity. We all know most teachers hover around average and there are, as in any endeavor, some absolutely outstanding performers. With properly designed and managed virtual learning this sage can be on many stages, multiple times with lesser “guides by the sides” ensuring students stay on task, get answers to questions and have moderated discussions with fellow students.

    But even this is just polishing an old apple that is well beyond its use-by date. We have burned through twenty years of the twenty first century and the era of the little red schoolhouse ended decades ago. We are surrounded by technology that listens to us, responds to our queries and commands. We have cars that watch us drive and alert us when we’re falling down on the job. Services understand us well enough to individualize services giving what we want, when we want it. They understand enough of us well enough to continually improve their services. Robots have entered the home as elder-care companions and child playmates. Handheld computers recognize us by face and fingerprint. Augmented reality is being used to entertain, inform and guide.

    We are immersed in sophisticated technology. Except in school. We have the capability, right here, right now, to create a system that provides individualized educational experiences that adapt in real time for each student in each subject. Constant adaption means constant evaluation and the end of high-stakes testing. AI analysis across populations drives ongoing improvement of various pedagogical techniques, modalities, and content creation and delivery. Technology makes every moment a teaching moment and eliminates boundaries between subjects and the arbitrary [mis]alignment of grade levels. Each individual learns each thing at their own rate in the manner best suited to that learner.

    If parents choose to pursue these goals, to push for this technological revolution, then thank a teacher-one of those who decided to step aside, making way for a twenty first century system.

    https://theotherdunwoody.blogspot.com/2020/09/virtual-reality.html

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  33. Stan – you realize that softball and volleyball season will be over by the time the Superintendent “reevaluates” whether fans are allowed? Another case of Dekalb thinking that football is the only sport that matters.

    If Dekalb schools are hosting state playoff on 10/20-21 I would sure hope that DCSD will come to their senses and let parents watch the games.

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  34. Demographics

    County is under 100/100k. Have teachers received their notice?

    1
  35. Transparency Is Important

    Just want to let the parents on here know that there are several schools in different counties (specifically Fulton and Gwinnett) who have multiple teachers and students with COVID and the schools are NOT letting the parents know. I have friends who work at these schools, and teachers are being discouraged from letting their co-workers know they have it because they don’t want teachers to quarantine and protect students and other staff members. Parents in DeKalb need to demand that this information be made public so we can stay informed and make the right decision for our kids. This seems to be a statewide issue, as several articles have been written on the subject within the last week or so. Stan, what level of transparency will the district provide to parents regarding students and staff being infected?

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  36. @Transparency Is Important

    Gwinnett publishes it’s data

    “To keep parents informed, we are providing information every school day about the number of positive cases, suspected cases, and close contacts reported by school. (Students began a gradual transition back to in-person learning on 8/26. Therefore, until the report issued on 8/27, all previous reports included information about adults only.) The report includes the number of new cases, as well as the number of people currently not at school/work due to COVID-19. In accordance with federal law, no information will be disclosed that would lead to the identification of any individual represented in the numbers shown on the report.”

    https://publish.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/gcps/home/public/schools/content/return-to-learning-hub/covid19-info-by-school

    October 2020 COVID-19 Reports By School

    https://publish.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/gcps/home/public/schools/content/return-to-learning-hub/oct-2020-covid-19-reports-by-school

    Fulton County publishes weekly data reports by school on its site. Parents are also informed if closures are needed for level 2 incidents according to the FCS closing matrix.

    1
  37. Transparency Is Important

    Demographics,

    I don’t trust what those counties are reporting. There’s one school in Fulton County that I know for a fact has several teachers with COVID, and Fulton County is reporting that school as having ZERO cases (I’m not going to name the school because I do not want any of the staff to get in trouble for telling that information). I will say that one of the teachers who has it is a close friend, so that school should have at least one reported case. Again, what transparency can we expect from DeKalb? As a parent, I have a right to know the plan and to know that I can trust the data put forth by the county.

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  38. Friends in GCPS

    GCPS is definitely not transparent with its data. They have a well oiled PR machine and use it to obfuscate things they can get away with.

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