Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris stated we are in unprecedented times and we are doing our best to navigate these uncharted territories.
She stated that DeKalb Schools will be guided by the science and data available to the school district. Teachers are not coming back to work on October 19. Teachers and students will return to school when the numbers allow it in accordance with the stated calculations and guidelines.
Moving forward, any questions that are not answered by the town hall, teachers should go to their principal first and regional superintendent next. Regional Superintendents are given regular COVID updates.
Human Resources Update
* Discussing COVID-19 Leave Options
Health and Wellness Update
* Discussing the protocol for reporting COVID-19 cases
* Contact tracing – done by county board of health
* Isolation Room – every school and every department will have an identified space for isolation should somebody exhibit COVID symptoms. Students will be placed in the isolation area and parents contacted. If parents cannot be contacted, the school will call 911 if need be.
Testing will be done at established sites. DeKalb Schools is working with the DeKalb Board of Health.
DeKalb Schools is working on filling nursing vacancies.
HVAC units, 7,000 of them, have been adjusted to maximize ventilation.
Implemented mandatory cleaning protocols
Each school has been given a 2-month supply of cleaning and disinfecting materials and bathroom products
Developed capacity modeling guidance and classroom layout modeling guidance in alignment with CDC and DPH
Target 12-16 students per classroom using 6ft distancing as a guideline
Getting employees and students a device is priority number one. The school district is looking into a device refresh.
Guest network has been added for student and guest personal devices.
Be sure to store files in the cloud, don’t click on suspicious emails and reboot your device if necessary.
Curriculum and Instruction
What does hybrid learning look like?
New phrase, “Concurrent Classroom Instruction”
Classes will be divided into half. F2f and virtual live format education will be delivered simultaneously.
There will be some growing pains – this is new
Phase III will resume a full day schedule of learning. Remote learning will be a full day just like in school. So, the bell schedule will change.
Preparing for Phase III
Figuring out the master schedule including planning periods and balanced classes.
Considering how to offer specials (art, music, PE) at the elementary schools
Figuring out what to do about teachers that share classrooms or float between classes and/or buildings
Devising staggered dismissal schedule
Creating duty rosters
Devise schedule for staggered outdoor recess
Lots of signs to indicate directional hallways or health protocol reminders
Q: Can high risk employees continue working from home?
A: DeKalb Schools gave the same answer as the first segment
Q: Will there be penalties for deciding not to come back?
A: The school district will honor the normal exemptions.
Q: Something about sneezing protocols
Q: Where do the numbers come from?
A: All information is on the DeKalb Schools numbers. The Georgia DPH and DeKalb Board of Health calculate the data
Q: If a child tests positive for COVID, what’s the plan?
A: The DeKalb Board of Health drives the investigation. They decide who has been exposed and needs to quarantine. The distance to child and amount of time with the child drives the determination of who needs to quarantine.
Q: Students having problems with virtual learning
A: Staff is committed to working with students individually to make the learning environment as successful as possible
Q: Environment Questions – Can we open windows
A: We ask that windows are left closed to protect the HVAC units.
Q: HVAC repairs
A: Operations has been working to reduce the number of needed repairs
Q: Will students have to wear masks?
A: All students must wear masks.
Q: Will the school provide masks to students and staff?
Q: Parents and Visitors?
A: No parents or visitors allowed in the next phase.
Q: Supplies: Tissue paper, toilet paper, soap, etc …
A: There will be enough in each school
Q: How will social distancing be implemented?
A: All schools will have their own COVID-19 task force to consider the specifics of each school
Q: How many students and teachers will be in school during the hybrid model?
A: We expect at least 40% of the students to remain virtual.
Q: What is the plan for Wednesday.
A: It will be 100% virtual for students. Teachers will be at school.
Q: Teacher evaluations
A: TKES and LKES are governed by state law. We won’t have student growth numbers
Self assessments have been suspended. Summative measurements can not be made.
Woods said the State DOE’s motto is compassion over compliance.
Q: How will the district support MAP testing ethically.
A: Microsoft did an update allowing the teacher to see 12 students take the test at a time. MAP will not be used as the school district typically has. The current use will be to diagnose learning loss.
State standardized tests will still be required. School district is figuring out how to do that.
Q: What accommodations will be provided to teachers with children?
A: There is a provision within the COVID leave reasons, there will be eligibility for leave. Please seek other options before availing yourself of this option.
Q: Will teachers be allowed to resign without penalties?
A: Fines will not be assessed.
Q: Can we connect smart boards to our chromebooks (teachers are experiencing some sort of problem here)
A: The district is making peripherals available.
Q: Why do teachers have all these tools? Will there be a supported platform
A: The district is looking to have a supported platform and trying to decide which tools to include. The school district does allow many tools to be used even if they are not supported by the school district.
Q: Para’s – will they be given devices
Q: What supports are in place for teachers experiencing high anxiety?
A: The pandemic has caused anxiety for many people. School district is putting together a toolkit to help identify people experiencing anxiety. School district helping teachers provide mental health first aide.