DeKalb Schools Reopening Plan

DeKalb Schools has announced they will begin its re-opening process on a staggered schedule Jan. 4, 2021 with staff returning to school buildings. Selected grade levels will begin in-person learning on Jan. 19, 2021. Phase three will begin Jan. 25, 2021.

deKalb Schools reopening plan

Students may return to face-to-face instruction or continue in the virtual learning space. Schools will organize all classes into two cohorts based on alpha order to adhere to social/physical distancing requirements and safety guidance. Local schools will collaborate with families to align the schedules of siblings. Wednesdays will be reserved for small group instruction, tutoring, appointments for student conferencing, parent conferencing, services, professional learning, collaborative planning and instructional planning.

Concurrent Learning – According to a presentation yesterday, Concurrent Learning will be engaged when the level of spread is between 8% and 10%.
• 2 Days of face to face instruction per week
• 2 Days of distance/remote learning per week
• Wednesdays will be reserved for small group instruction, tutoring, appointments for student conferencing, parent conferencing, services, professional learning, collaborative planning and instructional planning.

Employee Options – Telework may possibly be provided as an option for employees who qualify for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If an employee believes he/she has a medical condition that qualifies for an ADA accommodation, he/she must complete an ADA application and provide supporting medical certification to begin the process. Employees may request ADA documentation from Employee Relations or bookkeepers. ADA documentation can also be accessed through the following link: https://dcsd.sharepoint.com/hr/Pages/Forms.aspx Employees may use the email to make requests: ADArequests@dekalbschoolsga.org

Charter Schools – While charter schools enjoy substantial autonomy, Georgia’s Charter Schools Act does not provide flexibility to charter schools regarding federal, state, or local rules, regulations, court orders, and statutes related to the protection of the physical health and safety of students, employees, and visitors. DCSD charter schools do not have the authority to implement a less restrictive learning model than the District.

Keep In Mind – DeKalb Schools administration would like you to keep the following in mind:

• In surveying our DCSD families on intent to return to school, over 40% of families indicated their desire to send their children back to school.
• Even with rising rates, leading health experts have advised school leaders to identify opportunities for students to return to school buildings.
• Neighboring districts have successfully returned with few incidents. DCSD Leadership is in contact with neighboring districts to discuss what has worked well and some of the areas of concern so that our district can proactively prepare for re-entry.
• Most importantly, our youngest learners and our most vulnerable students must have the structure of learning within the school building to receive targeted support from educators needed to achieve academic success.

Outbreaks – If a school-based staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, there will be a targeted impact on the school and/or classroom which could include a transition to distance/remote learning and working environments for a period of time.

Symptoms – If a staff member or student is exhibiting symptoms, the staff member or student will be immediately isolated. The District will follow the guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health, DeKalb Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

278 responses to “DeKalb Schools Reopening Plan

  1. This brings up more questions than it answers.

    1) Will students that want to be face to face, will they be in school once a week or all week?

    2) Will teachers be teaching to the class and virtually at the same time?

    3) What is the metric for going back to school now?

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  2. Are these dates firm Stan? Or based on hitting the 10% criteria?

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  3. @Dekalbmom, Good question. I’m trying to find out more about the 10% criteria figures the administration is using. –Stan

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  4. Please let me know

    So the numbers are on the rise yet we are going back to the building. Please explain the logic? They keep talking about cleaning the buildings but Covid is airborne so what are the precautions for the students and staff.

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  5. @Please let me know, The administration is using the new criteria. They also sent me this explanation for going back even though the number of infections is going up,

    • While case numbers are not going down, DCSD leadership along with guidance from our COVID Taskforce, the CDC, and the DeKalb County Board of Health agree, that we must be vigilant and focus on the mitigation strategies to reduce transmission and prepare for re-entry January 2021.
    • COVID Medical Advisors have shared that it is now possibly safer for students to be in school than out of school, particularly if mitigation strategies are in place.

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  6. Stan,

    Is the proposal to go back to 5 day per week face to face learning? If so, they might want to re-survey parents to gain their interest for two reasons. There may be parents that are uncomfortable with their children in the building every day that were comfortable with every other day with cleaning in between. There may also be parents like myself that were not comfortable with the disruption of going back and forth between virtual and in person that would be comfortable with full time face to face. Either way, what was surveyed with regards to interest is very different from what is being proposed.

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  7. Hey Ben, My original understanding of hybrid is that there would be cohorts of students and students would go to school once a week with their cohort if they chose face to face learning. I don’t know if that is still the case.

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  8. The administration tells me this is how students will be organized,

    “Schools will organize all classes into two cohorts based on alpha order to adhere to social/physical distancing requirements and safety guidance. Local schools will collaborate with families to align the schedules of siblings. Wednesdays will be reserved for small group instruction, tutoring, appointments for student conferencing, parent conferencing, services, professional learning, collaborative planning and instructional planning.”

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  9. Are these dates going to be pushed back if the under 10% positivity rate in the chart presented last night isn’t met by those dates? What if the positivity rate increases during any of these phases?

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  10. Hallelujah! I have been so frustrated with virtual, and because we both work, our DES 4th grader has been in daycare doing virtual. We love our daycare, but it’s a far cry from F2F learning. We feel strongly that we should have the option for him to be face to face, so we are very happy with this announcement!

    Stan, will school be returning to 5 days a week? And would that be effective with phase 1 of this new plan? (4 days a week is a joke! How could receiving 20% less instruction time not be making our children fall behind private schools and neighboring F2F districts?) In the return to school survey before, they stated children would likely have to change teachers if they returned. Will this model prevent that? Thanks for all you’ve done as our rep, Stan. Anna’s going to have her hands full since she begins the first day of Phase 1, but I have full confidence in her!

    “Please let me know”- the case numbers increasing doesn’t change the CDC’s, American Academy of Pediatrics’, and Dr Fauci’s recommendation that physically being in school is the best thing for students. The low risk of COVID complications in the school age group is not enough to outweigh the benefits of them physically going to school. If you choose to keep your children home and doing virtual because of the numbers increasing, no one will have a problem with that. As parents, only we can decide what is best for our children.

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  11. Oh, bummer! I missed that above. Not such good news then! How long will it be hybrid? Not sure we want the disruption and chaos of 2 days at school, 2 virtual days at daycare a d one useless “camp” day at daycare. So frustrated to hear they are sticking to reduced instruction time. Stan what do you think, is 4 days a week (aka no classes on Wednesdays) going to last all school year?

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  12. This is from one of the presentations. I’m trying to get hold of both presentations yesterday.

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  13. Concerned Parent

    I am not clear on how we can have a return date and meet the two weeks under 10% positivity rate. Any response on this yet? In addition- is the positivity rate including the antigen rapid testing data that is reported separately and not included in the totals (GA refuses to do so despite the White House task force asking to include this)? Right now positivity rates only reflect PCR testing, thus it is likely a lower estimate of actually positivity rates.

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  14. @Concerned Parent, No response yet. The rapid testing data doesn’t seem to be extremely accurate. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday, Aug. 6. The governor tested positive using the rapid test, before testing negative later in the day using a more sensitive laboratory-developed test. To your point, how many people test positive using the rapid test, assume they are positive and don’t ever get a lab test. That is potentially a positive case not counted.

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  15. Jules Winnfield

    I recognize everyone has unique situations so I don’t want to turn this into a social media-like argument, but I have a few questions:

    Will teachers be provided with any PPE?

    Why not wait for the vaccine to be available to teachers at this point? The timing of this is odd with cases spiking and schools being shut down all over metro Atlanta.

    Will teachers with young school-aged children be required to teach from the classroom for 5 days while the kids only go back 1 day or will there be an option to send the kids 5 days?

    Will Dekalb go after teaching licenses if the teachers decide to quit?

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  16. Can you provide a link where to reference the Dekalb county positivity rate they are using?

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  17. @Dekalb Parent, The district has been using the Georgia DPH daily report for positivity rates.
    https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

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  18. Special area teacher

    Hi Stan,
    Thank you for always keeping us up to date with DCSD decisions. I have a big concern about having enough substitute teachers to cover when staff members are out. At this point, we don’t even have enough during the regular school year! For some reason, it is difficult to get subs to come to the north end of the county maybe because of the distance? In the presentation, it mentions using “non-homeroom teachers” as subs which means using special area teachers to cover classes. Knowing that, special areas will end up being the super spreaders as they move from one class to another. This is a BIG problem for staff and students. I don’t think DCSD has thought this through enough how classes will be covered. Special areas will be moving around the building, subbing from room to room and also be used as helping with buses, movement in the building, all while attempting to have some normalcy of an instructional class and teach virtually. Any thoughts? We are extremely anxious as the “sitting ducks”. It’s not a matter of if we get Covid, but when in these circumstances.

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  19. The nurse at my school quit awhile ago. She has not been replaced. There’s a school nurse shortage from what I’ve heard. Anyone else have this issue at their school? I’m just going to sit back and watch this disaster unfold. I know my school is not the only disaster waiting to happen. *eats popcorn*

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  20. You have to go into the County indicator reports to find the 14 day % positive rate
    https://countyindicatororeport.s3.amazonaws.com/county_indicator_report_20201214.html#laboratory-tests

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  21. It looks like our superintendent has already backed away from communicating directly with staff and being transparent.
    So many unanswered questions…….
    What will the contact hours be when the schools are re-opened?
    How will the days be structured to allow for teachers to handle F2F instruction AND virtual?
    What is the plan for lunch? (Teacher contracts state that teachers will have duty free lunch)

    Teachers are now expected to finish this week teaching from home and then show up to the school buildings on Monday, January 4th and begin teaching from school???! I brought many supplies from school to my house in order to teach from home. My classroom has not been functional since March. It is all packed up!

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  22. @Jules,

    Regarding the teachers who have littles at home, they’re going to have to do exactly what all the parents who have littles at home are doing – hire a nanny, pay for private school, or quit their job. That’s exactly the predicament dekalb co put all the parents in the county in. They’ll have to do exactly what ever other parent with school aged children is having to do.

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  23. Jules,

    I don’t understand why teachers should be exempt from paying for daycare just like the rest of us working parents have been doing since March. It’s a huge financial hardship for us, too. I could never do my job while simultaneously helping my child with virtual learning, I find it interesting that principals allow their teachers to do both. That’s not representative of the majority of the world.

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  24. @Special Area Teacher, I don’t think there will be many students per class room when and if the students come back. I’m guessing elementary will have a higher percentage of students that come back. Any idea what other school districts are doing to cover classes when a teacher is out for any reason.

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  25. I’ve created a lovely home studio to teach virtually. No school has the proper equipment for teachers to work virtually from school. Any plans for webcams or audio?

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  26. This is great news!

    I hope the dates are firm. It is essential for children to be able to return to school. Virtual simply isn’t working for many. Europe has already adopted school as a priority/essential despite spiking numbers and are opting to keep schools open.

    Even better would be a return to full-time f2f, versus two days per week. This will keep students and teachers safer since kids will not be rotating in and out of classroom and daycare for the parents that cannot keep their children at home during virtual days.

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  27. MyTimeHasGrownThin

    It’s just so nice to know that the school district cares about their staff and students. I’m done! I’ve already been contemplating resigning because I’m tired of the way the education system is and continues to be. Nothing is about the well-being of children or the many people who work in the trenches.

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  28. Special area teacher

    @Stan Jester, I will look into this and let you know. I have many friends who teach in other counties. Regarding whether there will be a smaller number in the class doesn’t matter. We will still have to go into another teacher’s room, use their interactive board, their desk, etc. then once the day is over, plan to go into another room possibly the next day. We will be moving from room to room based on need. Even if the students come in our rooms, we have a lot of cleaning and disinfecting to do every day with so much change. This is exactly what will happen! Between bus duty, monitoring hallways and classrooms while the HR teacher takes a bathroom break, we are highly at risk for catching this and spreading it to other areas of the building. It goes against what the CDC and DCSD guidelines are at this moment. There has to be a better way than putting my life on the line.

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  29. @JRT no they didn’t- you now have put people in the predicament over a holiday period to find the childcare where you have been set up and have known ALL YEAR! You all are ridiculous in this region. You WANT everything! So now you have it! So, I beg you to please stay home from your vacations, trips and family visits over the holidays so that those of us that SERVE you can remain healthy as the vaccine is here close by. Any teachers that fall ill during this period of time will be sad. I know of a colleague that passed of COVID last year and not a word was mentioned.

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  30. Very foolish decision. Administration should hold firm on their previous decisions about 100 per 100K infection rate. Everyone is going to be infected with covid rates above 400 and still rising. What is the purpose of a rushed vaccine, by the time it is available to everyone the majority of the population will have already had Covid with schools opening up prematurely. Stay the course now that a vaccine is on the horizon. I have a family member that works at Cross Keys HS and there is no working infirstructor i.e. A/C heating. No windows and of course the Demographics ie poor and immigrant student population is much more vulnerable than any school in DeKalb County. Many of the local private schools that have been open are now planning to switch to online learning.
    All politically motivated decisions.

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  31. Right now we’re seeing a spike in cases to match the highest levels of the entire pandemic, perhaps in part due to family gatherings at Thanksgiving. I would expect the same- only worse- after Christmas.

    I support returning, but this whole plan should be bumped back two weeks to begin when second semester starts after MLK weekend.

    Naturally, yesterday was the faculty town hall (held when some schools were still holding classes!) and this couldn’t be discussed. Geez…

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  32. Since we are above 10% now, and could easily be above that in January , why are
    Set dates being released here? Our principal disputes these dates being posted here.
    Please clarify. Thank you

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  33. Upset Employee

    As a current DCSD Employee that works at AIC, seeing this information is an absolute disgrace. Not only because we are having to find out on your blog, but because we are NOT ready.

    The AIC building is NOT equipped to help prevent the spread of COVID. Outside employees come in all day, everyday, there has been NO adequate levels of protection or plans in place communicated to us on how to handle things. There are places for desk shields to go on receptionists desks and there are other departments within the building that do not have a receptionist desk or some type of barrier of protection.

    There are a small amount of doors that lead to outside, there are little to no windows allowed for ventilation; and some of the custodial staff CANNOT be trusted to maintain cleanliness. There are a lot of areas within AIC that have to be shared by multiple employees such as breakrooms, copy rooms, and meeting rooms. Yes, there are sanitizer stations, but half of the time, they are empty.

    This is an absolute disgrace to all involved and I sincerely wish that the Board and Superintendent would take the time to think before making rush decisions.

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  34. I noticed counties like Gwinnett have a much higher percent positivity rate, and they continue to remain in person 5 days a week. How can these other counties continue to remain face to face successfully, yet Dekalb won’t even consider F2F until cases are below 5% (which ZERO counties in GA are actually at?!) this seems like an goal we won’t be able to achieve.

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  35. @Tyson, there’s no point in trying to reason with this group. We are obviously dealing with narcissists. They do not and will not ever care if teachers get the virus. We are nothing to them, just robots that do what they need us to do. I’m changing my profession. If you love yourself, LEAVE. This is the last year I’m treated like a doormat. You mean absolutely nothing to parents or administrtation. They see you as defiant if you stick up for yourself and your wellbeing.

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  36. Here is the link to the DCSD Town Hall presentation from last night. Apologize if this was already posted, I may have overlooked it.

    https://www.facebook.com/DCSDfamilyengagement/videos/232245901668399

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  37. When does it switch to the four days per week of face to face, which is listed right below the two days per week? Is the two days per week transitional only, and if so, how long before they can go four days per week?

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  38. While I’m thrilled DCSD is finally coming around to the importance of in-school learning, I have some questions/comments that nobody has been able to answer:

    1. How are we going to get students back on track? I can promise that my 4th grader is no where near grade level right now. My 1st grader is probably so-so but has an easier time learning. And, if the solution is summer school or Saturday learning, that’s not going to fly. We can’t punish these kids for not being able to go to school. I hope a serious over hall of the curriculum is in the works.

    2. Who on earth approves the tone death communications coming from the County? From the social media posts to the talking points used by CWH — it’s like DCSD is living in some alternate universe that the rest of us don’t understand. I appreciate a positive approach, but to not acknowledge the incredible challenge of the last 10 months is beyond puzzling. How did a Board meeting from a week ago not even hint at this drastic change? These kinds of things diminish credibility for the school district.

    I really, really hope I can see my kids in a classroom in January. But to say I’m confident in the County would not be accurate.

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  39. High School Teacher

    Teachers report on January 4th and immediately begin teaching from their classrooms the same day, which seems to be expecting everything to work as it should after 10 months of not using the classroom computers. Are the classrooms going to have webcams with mics by January 4th?

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  40. Resignation Questions

    Stan,

    Thank you for providing this information, and thank you for continuing to keep us updated. I saw some procedures listed for teachers who want to go out on disability, but DeKalb has not been forthcoming with information about teachers who want to resign instead of returning. We’ve asked this question multiple times, and the county has refused to answer. What are the procedures for resigning under these circumstances, and will it have a negative impact on our certifications? Is it possible that you can give us any information?

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  41. @Hopeful mom,

    I’ve seen pictures of schools in Europe during COVID learning. Many countries are hybrid and windows are open. Even if the windows could open here, would teachers be allowed? I’d love to have their safety precautions, like students having to have a negative test to attend class each day (Germany). I have friends in Germany and Austria. Both their children’s schools have closed because of COVID numbers.

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  42. Think outside the box!

    What is the time plan for bringing special needs students back into their self-contained classrooms? These students are grouped into the classrooms based on disability level and not the grades they are in on paper. They are also the students who are most adversely impacted educationally and behaviorally with virtual school. These students also must have parents sit side by side with them to provide assistance at all times during zoom “classes”. Will all special needs students return f2f with the first group of grade based typical students?

    Also, has DCSD considered NOT having teachers teach both to the kids in classrooms AND at home simultaneously? Thus model is much less effective for all. Have they considered having virtual students taught by dedicated virtual teachers and have f2f kids return full time to be taught by in person teachers receiving bonus or hazard pay for most classes? (Some high school classes may still have to be hybrid.)

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  43. @High School Teacher: Dude, THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU. No, they don’t care if you have supplies to teach.

    *Whispers* They never did.

    Exit the teaching profession. It’s time. This is your wake-up call. Stop acting surprised everybody. This is how teachers are always treated. THIS IS NOTHING NEW. Not a single person here is surprised by all this. When you meet someone and they tell you they could never be a teacher, it’s because they KNOW how badly we are treated. Everyone knows. You are in denial if you think we are respected by anyone. #walkaway

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  44. Concerned Teacher

    Stan,

    Is there a link where I can access the presentation from the meeting?

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  45. TeacherLookingForHelp

    Could you please post a link for teachers to find the necessary forms for taking a leave of absence, using FMLA, or resignation? Teachers need to have access to these forms before we go on break and should not have to search and search for them. It is also interesting that you would do this just as the CARES Act expires. I know several of us at my school don’t feel comfortable teaching in the height of the pandemic and don’t plan on coming back.

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  46. Stan,

    I’d like to second Meg’s question as to when they go back 4 days per week. If the positivity rate drops to below 10%, based on the presentation, it seems as if schools have the option to go back 4 days per week. But you are saying that they will go back 2 days per week. When and how will the decision to transition to 4 days per week be made?

  47. Stan: please address what a teacher without their own classroom is expected to do. Am I expected to use another teachers area and sanitize it and hope that they are doing the same when I need to teach? Our school doesn’t have the capacity for all teachers to have their own teaching rooms so this is an issue that affects many “floating” teachers. Can the floaters continue working virtually for our safety?

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  48. Questionsthatneedanswers

    This all seems to be happening very fast. We have heard of the constant struggles of teachers who are teaching f2f and virtually at the same time. Many times county admin and board members have stated they are learning from other counties who have returned to school and yet and still no PD has been provided to teachers on how to teach both f2f and virtually at the same with a few hiccups as possible. Also many teachers are far from prepared to return and yet we are only given a week (not enough time ) to go back to school and prepare to receive students. Why not just give teachers and schools the month of January to set up classrooms, attend PD sessions focused on best practices in a hybrid environment, and iron out any last many details that have yet to figured out. Please give teachers more time to transition back into the brick and mortar setting. We’d rather be safe than sorry.

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  49. Education’s Future: School nurse shortage and teacher shortage.

    If our lives mean so little to you then we are leaving to find a profession that will appreciate us, our hard work, and our dedication. #walkaway

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  50. Thanks for sharing this Stan – have you seen any mention of the self-contained special Ed students? I don’t see anything but wanted to see if I perhaps overlooked it.

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  51. DCSD News Flash

    Although the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing, DCSD’s leadership, with guidance from the COVID-19 Task Force, CDC, and DeKalb County Board of Health, agrees that we must be vigilant and focus on the mitigation strategies to reduce transmission and prepare for re-opening schools in January 2021. In January 2021, the District will continue to offer high quality instruction in a concurrent learning environment. The concurrent learning environment will support students based on their families’ choice to either attend school in-person or continue with distance/remote learning.

    The District is engaging in the following to prepare our staff, students, and families for the transition to the next phase:

    December 15, 2020
    * Send Stakeholder Notification (Staff, Families, and Community Partners)
    * Send Staff 2-Week Return to Work Notification

    Begin Phase I:

    January 4, 2021
    10, 11, and 12-month Staff Return to Work

    January 13, 2021
    Conclude First Semester

    January 14, 2021
    Conduct Post-planning and Pre-planning Activities for Second Semester (Teacher/Staff Workday)

    January 15, 2021
    Host the Professional Development Institute

    Begin Phase II

    January 19, 2021
    Begin Hybrid Learning Environment for Pre-K – 2nd grade, 6th grade, and 9th grade

    Begin Phase III:

    January 25, 2021
    Begin Hybrid Learning Environment for 3rd-5th grade, 7th-8th grade, and 10th-12th grade

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  52. Telework may possibly be provided as an option for employees who qualify for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If an employee believes he/she has a medical condition that qualifies for an ADA accommodation, he/she must complete an ADA application and provide supporting medical certification to begin the process. Employees may request ADA documentation from Employee Relations or bookkeepers. ADA documentation can also be accessed through the following link: https://dcsd.sharepoint.com/hr/Pages/Forms.aspx Employees may use the email to make requests: ADArequests@dekalbschoolsga.org

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  53. #walkaway teachers! Spend the rest of the school year and your summer off figuring out a new career! Let this be the last time they show you that your life doesn’t matter!! Show them that you can walk away and find a career that treats you with RESPECT! I’m doing it and so can you! Big hugs and good luck to all of you!

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  54. I think when it comes to concurrent teaching, it may vary by school much like Gwinnett. At my daughter’s school, f2f sit on a chromebook all day and learn via Zoom just like the virtual students. Small group is also done via Zoom. There is no collaboration at school. We like in a predominantly black area and most students are virtual. At my friend’s school in Lawrenceville, they have teachers designated for virtual and f2f. It’s an elementary school, so that may be the reason. I believe Gwinnett allows schools to decide what works for their school.

    Will DeKalb do the same? From what I’m hearing from other teachers, more students will return in region 1 and 2 than in regions 3-7. If this is the case, principals shouldb able to decide how teachers will deliver instruction based on the needs of their school.

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  55. Trying to Retire....

    Not related to reopening, but I can no longer comment on the Gold v. DeKalb post:

    Staff have started receiving the first of five settlement checks for the Gold v. DeKalb lawsuit. Per the legal info, the settlement checks are treated as “wages,” so taxes are deducted. However, Social Security (OASDI) is also deducted. If the settlement checks are “wages,” and if DCSD doesn’t pay into Social Security, then why is Social Security being deducted from the settlement amount?

    I’ve contacted the 3rd party vendor (American Legal Claim Services) via the email & phone number listed on the postcard that accompanyied the checks. I’ve also contacted DCSD HR. HR refers me back to the information on the postcard. American Legal Claim Services says they just send the checks; the deductions are a question for “legal counsel,” and they will pass along my question. No one has responded to my email.

    Given that the whole point of the lawsuit centers around the fact that DCSD doesn’t pay into Social Security (and it meant to provide an alternative retirement plan), it’s quite a smack in the face to have Social Security deducted. Are we going to need to have a lawsuit over the lawsuit??

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  56. Teachers, the police have left Atlanta due to lack of respect. Now Atlanta is begging for police officers to work for them. Guess what, all they hear are *crickets*

    We can leave too! You are not stuck in this profession! #walkaway

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  57. Ok Task Force....be my sub

    Forsyth high schools went all-virtual this week. Cobb just announced they are moving to all-virtual. And here we are in DeKalb, where 10.1% is less than 10%. I see what you are saying, parents, about being worried about your kids falling behind in math!

    When I get sick and there are no subs, I would like for a member of the DCSD Covid Task Force to come into my classroom and sub for me for two weeks. Full disclosure: my window doesn’t open, the HVAC at my school breaks down every other day, and you will need to bring your own PPE and sanitizing equipment (my “two month supply” of 2 cans of Clorox wipes will probably have already been used). Make sure to bring your school-issued Chromebook, since my desktop does not have a webcam or microphone and your personal laptop won’t work on the school’s network. You’ll be teaching some kids virtually, and some in-person, so make sure you understand how to use MS Teams*. Teaching in-person is more effective than virtual (duh), but make sure you don’t actually get near the students. Help them from afar (6 feet away, to be exact). And no hands-on activities or anything that requires materials of any kind, obviously. And don’t forget about your virtual students! Make sure they can see you on screen during your entire lesson, that you are engaging them in class discussions, and that you are available to help them while you are also helping your in-person students (from a safe distance). But also make sure you’re not just teaching to your computer while your in-person students watch on their own computers that they have brought to school and could just as easily be looking at from the comfort and safety of their own homes. You should also be prepared to cover another class during your planning period, and have extra kids added to your room, because none of the other teachers out with covid were able to get subs to pick up their jobs either. Make sure the students remain 6 feet apart at all times and keep their masks on correctly. Don’t forget to do your hall duty, lunch duty, bus duty, and morning duty. Remind the students to bring their own cleaning materials since again, we are out. Good luck! We know that teachers in every other hybrid district have made it very clear that teaching virtual and F2F at the same time is the most ridiculous and horrendous thing they have ever been asked to do, but don’t worry! You will be fine!

    *If you are not familiar with MS Teams, you’ll have to teach yourself as DeKalb is incapable of providing effective professional development on anything. I recommend utilizing google and YouTube for this.

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  58. @abcdefg, I am working on just that. 20+ years teaching, but I think it’s time to move on.

    And anyone comparing us to other counties already F2F, I would be equally as angry if I was employed there. I applauded Dekalb for taking a stand and not backing down (at least until we hit the peak of the outbreak ). Makes no sense! All this work we have done, all the sacrifices we have made, and now this?!?!

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  59. @ConcernedToo, If you decide to move on, what are you looking for?

    3
  60. I've ordered my hazmat suit

    So, is the district being threatened with losing funds? The staff meeting had all of the charts but no dates. Now there are dates. That staff meeting was misleading. I prefer for people to be honest and up front. Mrs. Watson-Harris was not honest. People did, specifically, ask about dates and she wouldn’t commit. She knew what they were planning.

    43
  61. @ I’ve ordered my hazmat suit | Harris also lied about our furlough days!!! Isn’t that fraud???!! That’s when I decided to permanently move on from teaching. I make 2 hundred less every paycheck now. Done.

    33
  62. More questions than answers

    Which days will staff be required to report in phase 2? The matrix says 3 days in person 2 days remote for staff, 5 days remote for students. Will teachers get to decide? Principals?

    4
  63. Watson-Harris gives a lot of lip service to “Over-communication” and “transparency” with nothing at all to back it up. As others have said, this plan brings up more questions than answers.

    31
  64. Confused by New Terminology

    Stan, do you have a definition of the term “telework”? Does that mean staying at home rather than going into the building? Or does it mean hibernating in our room at school?

    1
  65. It’s crazy to me that so many teachers & school staff are firmly convinced that if they go back in the classroom, they WILL 100% get Covid, and they are also convinced that they will likely be hospitalized and/or die from it. I understand that being the prevailing sentiment early on in the pandemic, but to still feel that way now just boggles my mind.

    News flash- despite rising case numbers in Georgia, Dec. 1 was our lowest 7-day average of Covid-related deaths (based on Date of Death, rather than the less-accurate Date of Report) since March 28, outside of a week-long dip in mid-June. On Dec. 1, which is the most recent date the data is considered accurate for Date of Death, we were at a 7-day average of 17.9 Covid-related deaths per day statewide. That’s down from 25.7 on Nov. 1 and 26.4 on Oct. 1. Georgia’s high at any point in the pandemic was 74.7 on Aug. 13. I know deaths typically lag cases by 3-4 weeks, but cases have been rising since the end of September, while deaths have either been flat or in decline over the same period, with the sharpest decline from mid-November until now. I’m assuming that means we have made phenomenal strides in the treatment of Covid in terms of preventing deaths that might have otherwise occurred earlier in the pandemic, but I guess some people either haven’t noticed (based in part on where they choose to get their news) or are simply ignoring that for whatever reason. DeKalb specifically hasn’t had a 7-day average of 2 deaths or more per day since August, and has operated for most of the fall under 1 death per day on average. And again, the VAST MAJORITY of those deaths were people ages 70 & above- not exactly a well-represented group within our school communities. I applaud DCSD for finally starting to look at the facts & the science and listening to the experts and at least giving us the option of getting our kids back in school.

    And for the record, my wife is a pre-K teacher who has been in the classroom all fall, and my mother was a teacher for 35 years who just was forced to fully retire this fall when her half-time position was cut out of her school’s budget. Otherwise she would be happily back in the classroom as well.

    https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

    13
  66. Pregnant Teacher

    Hi Stan,

    From what I’ve seen, DCSD is not providing accommodations for pregnant teachers, who are considered high risk. Can you ask about this?

    14
  67. Concerned and disheartened

    Sad and Disappointed in this decision!

    13
  68. Hello @Pregnant Teacher. CDC says, “Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.” I guess depending on the other factors, that could move somebody into a high risk category. Ask your principal. Let me know what they say.

    3
  69. ConcernedTeacher

    I attended a meeting today that outlines our “return-plan”, and I have major concerns. Besides moving the goalposts on which metric(s) we’re using, they want us to eat lunch in our classrooms with our students without masks on . . .
    Also, we are to report to our classrooms on the morning of January 4th to start teaching 1st block at 8 am as we are going back to a full schedule of some sort on the day. We have not been in our classrooms in 6 months. They are not set up for teaching. All my stuff is at my house. It usually takes a couple of days to set up a classroom, not 15 minutes! What if the technology doesn’t work (it won’t)? Who is going to make sure the students know that the schedule is changing??
    What a terrible plan!
    Nobody likes online learning, but it’s better than dying and it’s better than this . . .

    50
  70. David Felfoldi

    It makes no sense to change and state the metric threshold is test positivity rate <10%, and then give a date.

    Has DCSD learned how to predict the future?

    What evidence do they have that test positivity rate is going to drop by January? It's been increasing, and is currently above 10% as of December 8th.

    38
  71. Expecting Teacher

    @pregnant teacher

    I obviously am very interested in this as well. I have filled out my ADA accommodation form and sent it along to my doctors/midwives. I will be in my 37 week on January 4 Have you heard of others not being approved?

    8
  72. FYI parents- I know someone just diagnosed with Covid. Her child’s daycare was recently shut down due to Covid infections. Yassss, she DID catch it from her child. Her child did catch it from her school. So now I’m just going to sit back and watch the comments come up about you and your families testing positive. *eats popcorn* It’s inevitable some of you and your homes will get it. Teachers are not the only ones at risk. And don’t come back here or post on Facebook and whine about being sick/hospitalized. We will have zero sympathy for you. You know good and well this is a dangerous virus and you are willing to risk all of our lives. Don’t ask the nurses or doctors for sympathy either because they are FULLY aware of the risk you are taking and you know, you are not ignorant, of the high risk involved with f2f learning.

    27
  73. Pregnant Teacher

    @Stan & @Expecting Teacher

    I’ve been told by others that their principals and by HR that pregnancy is not being approved for remote/telework. The people I’ve spoken to are not as far along as you are though.

    1
  74. @abcdefg
    You mean the doctors and nurses that are at work F2F in close proximity with people who are all sick? How much sympathy do you think they have for teachers who have to go to work with children who aren’t sick?

    8
  75. FUGGHHEETTAABBOOUUTTIITT!

    A few things to remember:

    1. The logistical challenges of the hybrid model are impossible to surmount. For everyone involved: Parents, Students, Teachers, Administrators, School Staff, Transportation Staff, etc.
    2. The buildings are incapable of supporting healthy air quality or surface decontamination. My children’s schools were filthy on their best day. Don’t be fooled by the phrase “deep cleaning.” In our district, that means they used the broom on almost the entire floor and maybe emptied the trash.
    3. Overworked, underpaid teachers are not going to risk their lives for hybrid learning. Nor will they put their own families at risk.
    4. Only the most foolish parents would risk a child’s life or a teacher’s life for 2 days of face to face instruction.

    46
  76. Not to mention that high schoolers are taking final exams right after the Holiday Break. That means the high school teachers that are forced to set up on the 4th will have very little time to prepare their computers and set up for the exams to take place teaching from the schools vs. from their home work stations. I can foresee technical difficulties the first week or so as teachers adjust to working from the schools and will not be surprised if this affects the testing schedules for high schoolers. Our high school has horrible wifi reception as it is. I really feel bad for our teachers and students with this latest and last-minute decision. They could have announced this weeks ago, giving everyone more time to make informed decisions.

    17
  77. @anonymous-doctors/nurses will have sympathy for teachers because it’s work f2f or be fired for us. We aren’t being given a choice. We will get good medical care if admitted to the ICU and sympathy. But for narcissistic people like you putting everyone else at risk when you don’t have to, good luck. They’re mad enough that you’re part of the unnecessary spread but now YOU put THEIR lives at risk when you need their medical help for Covid, which had you been responsible you wouldn’t have gotten infected n the first place. Go ahead, ask a few ICU nurses and doctors how they feel about people who are living normal lives during this pandemic and then need medical help after virus infection. You need to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

    9
  78. Expecting Teacher

    @Pregnant teacher,

    Wow. That is scary. I surely hope my ADA request goes through, as they are asking us to quarantine starting at 35 weeks now. I really hope they are taking the “compassion over compliance” line seriously…

    9
  79. @pregnant teacher-they don’t care. You are just a spot to fill in a classroom. Either accept that or leave the teaching profession for a career that treats pregnant women like they’re humans. The school system does not treat teachers like humans. We are positions to fill in a classroom. That is all. If you get sick/Covid there will be a new teacher needed position posted by the morning.

    14
  80. I’m still unclear if Jan. 4th is a teaching day. Are teachers supposed to walk into a classroom they haven’t been in since March and start teaching at 7:30 am on Jan. 4th?

    21
  81. Suck it teachers. I really thought you’d make it to 2022. So far, doesn’t appear to be the case.

    And no, pregnant women are not asked to quarantine in any profession, but nice try.

    1
  82. I promise the Dekalb County School System that I will sue if my wife catches Covid just because you want to send the students back to school without even considering how the teaches feel about it. I guess it is ok to give some a choice and not all others.

    27
  83. Expecting Teacher

    @demographics,

    You can tell that to my doctor who has asked patients to quarantine. Not sure why you’re being so aggressive…

    24
  84. Stan here are some thoughts on how parents can help the opening process and work to keep it open:
    1) Volunteer to help keep facilities clean
    2) Become a substitute teacher to allow schools greater flexibility with high risk staff
    3) Ensure you and your child follow guidelines.
    I work in an essential business (transportation) and have been traveling globally since the initial outbreak. I feel with proper procedures we can all maintain a high level of safety.

    14
  85. @PatW, are you serious right now? Not one parent cares about our well-being. Nada. Stop asking for help and wrap your head around the fact they only need teachers to watch their children for 8 hours daily so they don’t have to. Accept that and move on. Reality bites, but at least you won’t have this false hope that parents care about us. There will be no parent support or help. There never has been and it won’t start today. #moveon

    23
  86. Appropriate Ed-ward

    Stan, do you have an answer for @lmartin re Special Needs kids?

    1
  87. Babysitters needed

    Are we jumping the gun? I have been in a school and the staff is struggling to reach a parent for non emergency things…imagine the run around when the child is febrile- short of breath or other symptoms. Is this a babysitter ploy? Are we concerned about the staff? What is the bottom line?

    22
  88. Can you repeat the question?

    2
  89. Yes @abcdefg I am serious. We all need to be part of making this work. My comments were general in nature and not in response to any other posted comments.

    5
  90. DeKalb Changed the Rules

    Most parents that agreed to hybrid did it under the original guidance. I highly doubt over 40% of parents would send back to this. I for sure would not. A new survey should have been sent out the second the rules changed. This is ridiculous!

    31
  91. Merely Adequate

    “Welcome to Georgia, home of merely adequate. We have enshrined in Article VIII, Section I:
    The provision of an adequate public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia.
    Don’t spend too much time looking because you won’t find the part where “adequate” is defined but you will find much about delegating this “primary obligation” to local yokels and you’ll even find a millage cap handily exceeded by the DeKalb School System. We pay more than the legal limit begging the question: do we get more than the legal minimum?

    DeKalb [literally] brags about a 2020 graduation rate of 75.97. Is almost one in four NOT graduating adequate?
    Illiteracy in our schools is so chronic and so epidemic that evaluation and reporting has been squelched over the last decade as if even looking would be like a nausea inducing glance at fresh vomit. Older, un-canceled reports indicate that 29% of eight graders in the US are functionally illiterate and high school senior reading proficiency in decline with over 25% reading below the “basic” level. With Georgia lagging the nation and DeKalb below average in the state can anyone, outside DCSD, call this adequate?
    Justification for taxing those who do not send any children to DeKalb public is a social contract, the notion that ALL of society, even the childless, benefit from an educated community. Are we getting an adequately educated population by any objective measure?
    Are there any three reasonably objective (IE: not a DCSD employee) observers who would dare suggest that what DeKalb residents are getting from their public schools is even close to an “adequate education?” Maybe it is time to recognized, and act upon, the plain fact that DeKalb County Schools are in breach of the social contract and have failed in meeting the responsibilities required of them by the State’s Constitution. ”

    https://theotherdunwoody.blogspot.com/2020/12/merely-adequate.html

    7
  92. I know that my room is nasty…still trash in wastebaskets and nothing clean…Let the sickness spreading begin…unbelieveable

    14
  93. Resignation Questions

    Demographics,

    Do you have a job, family, hobby….anything? Teachers come on this blog to get questions answered and to express concerns because we know that Stan advocates for teachers and does his best to give us the most updated information possible. You seem to come on this blog for the sole purpose of bashing the teachers that you (clearly) desperately need to teach your kids. If you spent half as much time with your own children as you’ve spent on this blog bashing teachers, virtual learning may not be as difficult or miserable for them.

    Again, Stan, thank you for providing this platform. We often do not get straight forward answers from the district, and you’ve definitely proven to be the much needed intermediary between the staff and the ones in charge. It’s a shame that some people use this blog to hash out whatever grievances they’re still harboring for their grade school teachers and taking it out on the rest of us.

    Back to the resignation question: How likely do you think the county will be to approve our resignations? I’m hearing that a lot of people aren’t even getting their sick time approved, so will the county even grant resignation requests? Also, does the county have any information on when teachers will be offered the vaccine? Was this timeline created with vaccine distribution in mind?

    32
  94. @disappointed-absolutley. All our rooms are nasty. I’m not doing the cleaning. I’ll be in and out. Clean it yourself Dekalb!

    15
  95. So……I guess I am not understanding. Will virtual still be an option for those with an immune system issue?
    Thanks

    5
  96. A mad Dekalb teacher

    This is ridiculous! Here come lots of resignations!

    16
  97. @ SHERRI E PAGE , are you a teacher? Then no. It’s sick time/FMLA/or be fired. That’s why we’re so mad. Parents get to decide if f2f is safe for their children and have a choice for virtual, but as adults, we are not allowed the same respect. Children’s lives matter but not teacher’s lives.

    36
  98. Some of us will finish out the year, but not sign on for next year. Mass exodus from education is probably likely. Everyone I know is miserable and fed up and looking. It’s not just Dekalb, it’s everywhere.

    29
  99. abcdefg, If it makes you feel any better, parents don’t have a choice whether or not to pay taxes which pay your salary.

    7
  100. You can move anon. Move far far away. Bye now!

    27

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