Teachers and Students Are Coming Back To School

Community spread appears to no longer be a factor in the schedule for opening schools in DeKalb. DeKalb schools administration is moving forward with getting teachers and students back into school.

Message From DeKalb Schools Administration

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. The District will proceed with 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.

Key Dates

Cohorts
Your school is organizing classes into two cohorts based on last name to adhere to social/physical distancing requirements and safety guidance. Your school will provide your child’s cohort assignment if you have chosen for your child to return for in person learning. If you did not complete the Intent to Return form, your child is being programmed as an in-person learner. However, parents may contact the local school by January 8, 2021 if you want to change your preference. School leaders will collaborate with families to align the schedules of siblings. In the hybrid learning model, Wednesdays will be reserved for small group instruction, tutoring, appointments for student conferencing, parent conferencing, services, professional learning, and instructional planning.

Re-Opening Schedule – January and February


614 responses to “Teachers and Students Are Coming Back To School

  1. @stan, then I would be fine with that. If I had 5-10 students daily that would be manageable. I just have a really hard time trusting anything Dekalb says because they lie so much.

    9
  2. F2F Option Now

    Also, it would be super if teachers didn’t pressure our children into not returning. I overheard one of my children’s teachers essentially say there is no point in returning (maybe it’s even one of the commenters above! Same talking points). She shared that she has heard this from basically all of her teachers (I only personally heard it from one). Who has taken the largest toll during the last (going on) 10 months? Children. Now, they are being guilted and pressured by their trusted teachers to not return. It’s pretty gross.

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  3. @ F2F Option Now:

    What’s “pretty gross” is your parenting frankly. At least your children’s teachers care about their well-being enough to encourage them to stay home. That’s more than what you’re doing. You’re endeavoring to push your kids back into school environments that are poorly-maintained environments during the best of times. At my school, water drips from the ceiling into buckets whenever it rains. The HVAC system works irregularly at best. Heating, well, that shuts off routinely. Hot water in the bathrooms? That’s not the case even in the teacher’s lounge! And, to top it off, principals have been told and they have told us that students can not be required to wear masks. Well, if they can’t be required to wear masks, can they be required to socially distance?

    Teachers have a right to be concerned about this, and, frankly, you should be, too. All this guff about face-to-face learning. IT’S. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. All students regardless of where they are learning will be learning the same way they have been learning since the school year began — on their Chromebooks. So, I ask again, why the extreme rush to push all the teachers and a fraction of the students back into schools when both COVID and influenza levels are at their highest?

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  4. Apples and oranges

    the district-wide number was about 50%, but that could mean near 0 at 2-3 of the other high schools and 90% intent to return at Chamblee or Dunwoody high. Same for the middle and elementary schools. Or, 2 kids decide to return in Ms Smiths room, but 28 return to Mr Browns class.

    Just because the big picture is rosy doesn’t mean all rooms will be able to socially distance.

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  5. South County Teacher

    Don’t be so sure that all teachers feel one way or the other. I teach in one of the south-end high schools and my own experience is not what has been stated above.
    Fairly early on, I expressed in a discussion with my department (online, of course) that I was sure we were all looking forward to getting back in the classroom and doing the job we all loved. One person got very upset and began singling me out for attack as a Trump-backing bigot who should go back to where I came from (I’m the only non-African American in my department; that I was actively working on the Bernie Sanders campaign shows how little concern this individual has for the truth). No one challenged him. Since then, the same individual has constantly bombarded the department with various race-based conspiracy theories, often with slurs directed at the one non-Black person.
    So I have learned after that first experience never to state my opinion about reopening except obliquely. Oddly enough, when I have had one on one discussions with members of my department or other staff from my school, every single person (with one very notable exception) has stated that they want to get back in the classroom and do not want to do virtual any longer than absolutely necessary. The politicization of education has come up more than once.
    This is, of course, anecdotal but I suspect some of those (especially the more belligerent ones) teachers saying none of us want to go back are stating what they perceive but are missing that a great many of us are experiencing bullying and intimidation if we suggest that F2F is preferable (or, for that matter, questioning any of the conventional wisdom, like suggesting that Dr Morley is possibly not infallible, that Dunwoody is not a hotbed of white power advocates, that maybe Joe and Kamala aren’t the best or that Trump isn’t actually Hitler, that we have an obligation to all our students, not just those of one race, and so on and so forth)
    Many teachers are leaving, yes, but that is true of every district and many are not leaving because of fear of COVID but from the endless yoyo-ing we have all experienced, the endless 70+ hour weeks we’re putting in, and from the constant bullying by other faculty and staff.
    We need to all do better and stop insulting anyone who doubts our own perfection
    (Now watch this comment be attacked for saying these things)

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  6. F2F Option Now

    Humpty Dance,

    I agree that this pandemic has revealed that DeKalb County and it’s schools are a total and complete mess. A mess that I’ve accepted over the last 13 years as a DeKalb parent (or more like, turned a blind eye to since my kids were doing ‘ok’). I think many of us parents now see it for what it is and will be pushing them to do better. Maybe that’s a silver lining in all of this. Many more of us will be holding the leaders accountable for the mess that is this county school district.

    Where I disagree with you is that schools should remain closed. I’ll just point you to my original post earlier today as to why I believe schools should be reopened. So, teachers are telling these very kids who are at risk to just stay home because ‘it’s safer’. My kids are doing OK but what about those who could really use a school building to go to? Sorry, I personally think it’s gross.

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  7. WE APPRECIATE TEACHERS!

    To Henri P. De Vastey and Every Teacher at DCSD,

    I want to let you know how much you are valued. How much we appreciate you and feel for the circumstances you are all in. I hate that you don’t have a choice and we as parents do. I have read every comment on this blog the past few days. My daughter started in APS and I work part-time for APS and I see how hard you all work. How committed you are. How deeply you care and how you change the lives of your students forever.

    I am a concerned parent with an immune fragile student and I have a choice. You should too. I believe there are many parents out there that care deeply about all of you. That appreciate you and are praying for your health and safety too. I just wanted to take a moment to let you know this. We have all been so focused on and concerned about making the best decision for our students.. But we are not all entitled and privileged parents that are only focused on our own families as you may feel. I truly will be praying and wishing the best for you. I stand with you as you have to make tough decisions for your families and your future. And I am willing to fight on your behalf if there is anything we as parents can do to advocate for your health and safety. I hope the superintendent will be more generous with her compassion over compliance statement that is getting her great press. We are behind you and we support you and I pray that you will all have a blessed holiday and relaxing break.

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  8. @Can’t do, won’t do?
    Please do not compare us to other countries. You realize many countries have far stricter requirements than we do ie., text message to leave the house, maximum number of families (2) with a maximum number of people, travel bans between regions, curfews, and the list goes on. Many of these rather drastic steps help open schools more safely. If education, face to face, is so important, then let’s lock down our travel. Let’s contain the virus and open the schools.
    As an alternative, we can continue to educate our students virtually for a little while longer until the vaccine becomes more widely available and after the peak traveling is finished. I don’t want to point fingers, but I am guessing that many of those who plan to travel and gather with family over the break are likely planning to send their children back into the building in January. I am sacrificing a lot this holiday, as are many others, by not traveling so that I limit my exposure, but in a few weeks that will have been for nothing as dozens of children will be passing through my classroom and passing me in the hallways. I might as well go travel and see family!

    https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53640249

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  9. veteran teacher

    I think it is fair to say that the data you got on intent to return is WAY off. What was being proposed then is VASTLY different than what is being proposed now. The first phase of the last plan was to come back in 4 cohorts and not two. There certainly wasn’t any discussion about no cohorts until the numbers were VERY low. Many parents didn’t think it was going to be worth it to send their kids back one day a week to be sitting in front of a computer anyway.

    I will be very curious to see what the numbers will be in District 1, once the parents are re-surveyed. We know that 40% of high schoolers chose virtual, but that number was for all 7 regions. I want to know what Region 1 looks like and how that is going to affect me directly.

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  10. Safety concerns

    @F2F Option Now,

    I can’t speak for other teachers, but I have asked students (with no pressure) which ones know they are returning or which ones know they are staying home. This was mostly for planning how I am going to teach. I’m not sure when we’ll get the number of students returning vs. staying home, and I’m starting my second semester plans on Monday. I do not want to wait until the day before they come in. My responses are to let them know that there will be students learning from home at the same time, and that most learning will still be on the computer. That is what I have learned from my colleagues that are doing that right now in other districts. There will still be distancing in the classroom. But I tell them if they need someone to check that they are participating, that will happen in the classroom. I’ve also shared that with more class time, we’ll be able to work together on assignments and have more review time. That’s something we haven’t been able to do with our current schedule. Some students have talked about how high the numbers are, and I’ve agreed with them, but told them that they should stay updated and make that decision with their parents. Part of the decision everyone is making is based on what the experience will be. I’m trying to give them an idea of what it will be like in the classroom or at home. I hope what I have said has not made anyone feel guilty about their decision, but I want to answer their questions with what information I have. If you have concerns about what teachers are sharing with your child, you should have a conversation with them.

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  11. F2F Option Now

    Safety Concerns,

    Thank you. I think your messaging is appropriate and makes sense to me. From what I understand, there are teachers who aren’t messaging it that way and definitely spinning it more negatively than what you outline – then again, I am hearing it from a teenagers perspective. I think some of these kids are worried about being targeted negatively if they do come back. I am sure that would not happen, but sucks that this is where their heads are at.

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  12. Michael Pastirik

    Mr. Jester.

    Thank you for this forum.

    Yes, there is a great deal of concern about returning to the classroom expressed by Dekalb teachers privately.

    Students – half of half (or thereabouts?) returning will go F2F – a guess, a hope, who knows… We will see what we will see. I teach freshmen largely, so I think their F2F numbers will be higher than the Juniors and Seniors.

    I am fortunate to teach in a school under a principal who will do the best she can to ensure the education of students and protection of us all – staff and students. I am counting on it – statistically, I am at a greater risk than some/many others. Truthfully, I thought it inevitable that we would return – and, if I am honest, I have been an advocate of ESOL, Special Ed., and beginning readers having direct access to teachers. I would have gone, and volunteered to do so. However, I was surprised by the more general return to school. My preference was to delay the return until early February – with full implementation mid- to late-February. Why? The anticipated post-Winter holiday swapping of Covid would have happened with individuals sickened (and hopefully, returned to full-health), a more widespread prevalence of (at least the first wave of the vaccine with I believe its anticipated first level of effectiveness of 14 days passed), the coldest part of winter over (meaning the possibility of increasing time outside), etc. However, my timeline is not the path taken. Such is life. For the record, the number of infections per 100K is significantly higher than four months ago, hospitals are full, and people are dying… But, gosh golly, I do miss being a classroom teacher – give me all the possibilities and foibles of students over virtual instruction any day – and, heck, I just became fairly competent at the online skills necessary to teach virtually! A conundrum!

    Rumors abound about vaccines. I am so thankful to the scientific community for developing the vaccines so quickly (and as a science guy, what a wonderful teaching moment!). However, vaccinating me is not acceptable until my wife (not an educator, or healthcare worker, etc.) is able to receive one also. I do not want to be protected, but potentially bring home the virus to an unprotected spouse.

    So, we go on. I am sure there are reasons for our return. Again – rumors – loss of kids to the system and funding along with them, concern over lost learning, emotional issues, etc. All important and valid concerns, along with others I have not heard rumors about. I am not judging the need to return, or the desire to return, or the difficulty of working out the return, or the leadership making the decision – I am respectful about all of these. I am wondering about the timing of the return. But, regardless, of my wondering, I will be in attendance and teaching. I will be careful and mindful. I am hoping others will be too.

    Be well, safe, and have a good holiday season.

    mike pastirik; Lakeside High School

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  13. @stan what about the teacher step increase come January???

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  14. @MikePastirik. Well said. Thank you for expressing how I feel and how I imagine most teachers feel. I do not like virtual learning AT ALL and I much prefer being in the classroom with students, but this just doesn’t feel right. Ultimately we are concerned about EVERYONE’S health, not just our own.

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  15. I mentioned in an earlier FY2020 that teachers stepped this year. Here are the FY2020 budge articles with associated docs
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2019/06/9958/
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2019/05/9580/

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  16. DSW2Contributor

    The Palace called another All-Principals meeting this morning (Friday.) They only gave about 20 minutes advance notice, then they just stated some platitudes about allowing Principals to grant a little more flexibility for hardships. Nothing they said actually addressed any of the hardships the teachers & staff I know are facing.

    Multiple DCSD schools have 5 or more teachers who have already notified their Principals that they will not be returning for in-person learning.

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  17. DSW2Contributor

    Some really scary data in the CDC’s “Community Profile Report” for December 17, 2020:
    https://beta.healthdata.gov/National/COVID-19-Community-Profile-Report/gqxm-d9w9

    Page 22, “Lab Positivity by Age Group and Region”, shows that test positivity is *highest* for ages 12-17 in 9 out of 10 regions of the country…. and that’s been the pattern since October 22nd!

    That trend is not what you want to be seeing if you’re being asked to go back to a middle or high school!

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  18. Take More Minutes

    Let’s be clear.

    -whoever Meeting Minutes is shouldn’t be teaching our children that person is certifiable.

    -Covid is real and it’s also a politicians dream come true. Wether it’s a school board member talking about dead students in coffins or those dangling stimulus checks over the heads of voters until their party wins it’s a dream “problem” because it hands them power they haven’t earned.

    -a teacher or student may die from Covid. Now proving it happened because of school exposure and not at home, a store, a restaurant or a holiday party will be impossible.

    -It’s obvious that some teachers live in a world of entitlement where barely doing their jobs while complaining about their pay, vacation, salary increases, etc. flies off the tongue while hundreds of millions worldwide suffer from more. Oh we’re all going to die…right or does this just mess up your 4 day a week schedule or trips you’ve planned?

    For the record I’ve had family die of Covid. Glad I can check that cross sectional box so I can have a valid opinion. Insert Eye Roll.

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  19. DSW2
    GA DEPT. of Health
    School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Data
    School Data Report 12/17
    Cases
    Dekalb
    age group 0-4 High and increasing (last week they were moderately high)
    5-17 High and increasing (increased from week before, same designation)

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  20. Face to face and virtual students will be communicated to similar to how I am teaching now. Face to face students will need to bring their devices, sit spaced out and get the same amount of time as students that are working from a distance. Virtual teaching has taken me into the 21st century. I am now paperless! This is actually preparing students for the “new real world”. Parents be careful what you ask for. It will never go back to how it use to be.

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  21. Something I can’t seem to understand

    @Stan

    Do you know why the district change its hybrid plan from not only going from 4 cohorts to now only having 2? What’s the rush to getting teachers back into the classroom? Why didn’t they use their original plan instead of creating a new one? I know schools worked on planning their cohorts at the end of September/beginning of October. The outcome would still be the same, but just take a little longer. It’s like baking a cake and immediately throwing it out because you decided you want to make a pie instead. It’s ineffective and wasting time and resources.

    Also, to the person asking about Covid protocols for students. If students are exhibiting sickness and/or a fever, parents will be called to come get their child. The child will be placed in a waiting room supervised by an adult (still don’t know who will get that “lucky” job). Upon arrival, parents will be encouraged to talk to their health provider about next steps. If a fever is present, the student must remain fever free for 24hours without the help of medication. No fever can return the following day. We can’t tell them to get tested and we can’t ask if they’ve had a Covid test. They are supposed to report if their child tests positive to the school. It’s going to be a rough semester for those of us that work in areas where families don’t have health insurance and/or don’t necessarily have the means to pay for doctor’s visits.

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  22. @ just saying

    Wow 7 hours in front of a 13 inch screen, full class size February, did the room expand? Paperless? sure, no artifact just digital work sheets and test prep that completely replaces instruction. The new real world, will come with a full accounting, and a reckoning , of the students with and without disabilities you pretend are there and ‘engaged’.
    Please post your end of year Milestone numbers, so we can all see which century you were taken to 21st or 19th.
    Fail.

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  23. Don’t Shoot The Messenger

    @Sterling

    A lot of teachers are being advised to sit at a table in front of the class with their Chromebook to teach both sets of students at the same time. Believe what you’re reading about these setups. Don’t get mad at the teachers. They are doing what they are told to do all while trying to keep themselves safe. I’m not saying this type of instruction is ideal, but don’t shoot the messenger.

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  24. waitingforgodot

    F2F Option Now,

    I am curious to hear what a parent choosing face to face thinks his or child’s school experience will be like each day. Based on the limited information provided by the school district, Stan’s questions, and teachers’ comments no one really knows right now.

    Would you mind describing what you see happening each day your child is in school? What will he or she be doing in classes? What will the class room like like? Where will the teacher be? What will the teacher be doing? How long will the classes be? What’s lunch like?

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  25. “Super”pathetic Cheerleader Up High

    Wait, wait, wait. A. Whichever imbecile used the word cohort thinking it would be wise should not be on any school board as parents and teachers keep seeing it they laugh and wonder what criminal counterparts came up with this). B. They are planning on throwing up to 34 children in a classroom? That’s abuse on a normal day. They are planning on “babysitters”as teachers in a classroom with 3 types of students if I read that correctly. 1. Wrong “cohort” day show-ups 2. Children refusing to wear masks and 3. Children potentially sick or infected? Yeah, this seems like a fun classroom which teacher is being volunteered as tribute? Oh and what “learning” is being done in this muti-faceted classroom? Are there different grade babysitters? Since clearly an idiot came up with that “metric” let’s ask them to refer to a child’s theme to comprehend what’s ahead for them directly. “Can you say lawsuit, Dora?” I hope all teachers choose to organize a full-fledged strike as well as planned legal action against the board, superintendent, as well as any moronic parents involved in the stupidity behind this lack of science based brain dead criminal plan. Oh, and please any teachers echo end up with COVID walk right up to each coward on the board and the superintendent and cough directly in their faces because it’s well earned come January. This county has become appallingly stupid and it’s clearly time to move to one that values its educators and staff better. By the way, I’m a parent and nurse, NOT a teacher nor do I work for any school. I do have teachers and staff members ftt try on multiple counties, cities, states, and countries as friends though and I value each and every single one of them. Teachers out there believe me not all parents are being this bullshit and we will happily continue to have your backs as well as raise our children too. The vocal assholes spewing vitriol loudest at you don’t speak for the rest of us though. We are simply equally tired of trying to explain common sense to those who have none. Or try and have intellectual decisions with unarmed and hypocritical opponents. It’s exhausting and frankly they will never hear what they don’t weans. It’s time to get legal and if you need help ask those of us ready send willing to back you. We are here. If you have teachers ready to return, ask those to do so. If you have students ready to return allow those too. If you have the ability to do this all safely and while not leaving teachers and staff with more in their lap, go for it. If you aren’t ready to step up and provide necessary means for teachers and staff in buildings or protection got those families looking for it so they are willing to send kids back it’s time to sit down and shut up until a realistic plan comes out. What the hell has the board been doing exactly all these months? Twiddling their thumbs while still getting paid? It seems like exactly that if schools are being told it’s on you and suddenly all while months prior it was “I’m your biggest cheerleader” and “don’t worry we are working on plans for a safe return ahead” was all poppycock. Sorry that was being that yo considerate of these individuals trying to hang schools and teachers out to dry, bullshit is the right word. Pathetic lots for it’s sickening to think any of them is involved with the safety of any child because clearly they don’t care about anyone but themselves, look how they treat their community and own employees! Definitely not trusting Dekalb with my child return come January nor their teachers. As of this years end it’s time to move though.

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  26. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ waitingforgodot,

    A tremendous number of DC children are going to become homeless after January 1 because that is when the national moratorium on evictions ends. Their in-school experience will not be great, but at least they will have a warm, safe and clean place to go learn in during the day.

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  27. They want to wash their hands clean

    @ Waitingforgodot

    Each school is pretty much supposed to come up with their own plan and what’s best for their community. It’s designed to take any liability and responsibility off of the district and put it all on the individual schools. I do agree there should be certain aspects that should be more individualized based on each school design/setup, but there definitely needs to be uniformity went there comes to certain Covid policies and procedures as well as expectations on how instruction will look like during this time. Everyone in each school should had a say in helping in the design of these things. It only makes sense to ask the people it effects the most.

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  28. I’ve received the names of my students whose parents opted for F2F instruction. I have a grand total of 7. We have less than 25% of our students wanting to return. All this is doing is turning us into babysitters. As far as “concurrent” instruction. I’ve said this before. My friends working in Gwinnett report that they are sitting at their desks teaching to Zoom. Students are in their classes on their devices watching the Zoom conference while their peers are at home doing the same.

    Personally, I’m really worried about this. I feel we’ve been lied to. I am obese which has gotten worse due to an injury about 10 years ago. I live in a multi-generational home. This isn’t good for anyone. DCSD owes its stakeholders true information about why this reopening plan is moving forward as it is. I’ve been to enough Board meetings to honestly believe this is a case of squeaky wheels getting the oil rather than realizing that we do have a true silent majority in DeKalb that are at a far greater risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19 than those actively pushing to reopen school buildings.

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  29. Sad, just sad.

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  30. I’ve maintained the opinion that students should return to school when Chick-fil-A opens the dining rooms. I trust that Corp more than DCSD.

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  31. They talk about CDC guidelines. They are NOT being honest. I have friends who work with the CDC, one is a director and even they are NOT returning to their building anytime soon, virtual work ONLY. She said it definitely won’t be before summer before CDC workers go back into the building depending on the numbers and the inevitable delays in getting millions of people vaccinated.

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  32. Meeting Minutes

    Waitingforgodot,

    A typical day for students learning in person would look like:
    – Arrive and go straight to the classroom (no parents allowed in the building for the younger kids. Not sure what the pre-k and kinder students will do because I will not be holding any student’s hand and walking them to their classrooms. Not sure which sacrificial lamb will be tasked with this duty.)
    -Breakfast will be delivered to the classrooms. Students (who are not socially distanced) will remove their masks to eat. Teachers will likely watch students eat from the hallway to avoid possible infection. Students will probably take a restroom break after so the teacher can spray down/sanitize the room. Not sure how restroom breaks will look at this point, but I can see the biggest risk of virus spread happening during this time.
    -By the time breakfast finishes, students at home should be awake and logged into the virtual class. Students in person will log in and sit at their desks while the teacher teaches from his/her desk via Zoom or Teams. This is the only way to teach these groups simultaneously. There will also be no groups/collaboration outside of the Zoom or Teams world because of the risks. Still not sure how the schedules will look for VL and in-person kids.
    -specials will take place via Teams or Zoom. That’s the only way to prevent cross-contamination, as specials teachers see multiple grade levels per day. It’s likely that PE specials will have to be done at home to prevent the extra movement in the classroom.
    -Lunch will be delivered to the classroom. Students will remove their masks and teachers will likely eat in the hallway, if they eat at all. Teachers I know in other “open” counties eat/drink enough before school so they can avoid removing their masks during work hours. I’ll be doing the same.

    That’s really all I can say at the moment because that’s all the information we have. The in-person experience is going to be nothing like a typical school experience. It’s going to be terrible. Kids are going to hate it. It’s important for these parents who want their children in school to understand that now. I anticipate that the next complaints from these parents will center around the fact that their kids aren’t having “fun” in school and that teachers should be working harder to make this experience enjoyable. Those complaints will fall on deaf ears. Teachers’ main focus will be trying to survive, period. But, we will do everything in our (extremely limited) power to make sure your kids come home safely. That’s really all we’re concerned about at this point.

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  33. Hello @Super Pathetic Cheerleader. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. You mentioned a couple times about going to other another school district. What are some example school districts you are thinking about going to? You seem upset about DeKalb going back, but DeKalb is one of the last school districts to go back. Do you see DeKalb’s legal jeopardy any different than all the other school districts that have already gone back? Thanks again for sharing, Stan.

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  34. Hey @Something I can’t seem to understand, I don’t know why the school district is going from 4 cohorts to 2 cohorts. I suspect it has something to do with the minimal number of students they expect to come back. The original plan was outdated, but I don’t know why they aren’t sticking with the 10% plan. I’m guessing it will work a lot like it has worked at the other school districts … for better or for worse.

  35. @Super Pathetic Cheerleader, Stan is right. All the districts are the same. If you want real change, leave teaching all together. This profession has gone from bad to worse and you see how you are treated like trash. Leave, don’t look back, and don’t let anyone you care about become a teacher.

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  36. I second the motion to open when Chick-fil-A does.

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  37. Concerned teacher

    If parents are choosing “hybrid” for their children, then why will BOTH cohorts of students go back TOGETHER on Feb. 8th? That’s not “hybrid.” That’s everyone together at the same time. Are will still supposed to have 16 or fewer students in a classroom when both cohorts are back at the same time?

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  38. @concerened teacher-I’m preparing myself mentally for a full class. Dekalb said anyone can get on the bus, no one will be turned away, and we are required to take in students from classrooms when teachers call out or quit. You know they will all show up for the feee breakfast and free lunch, so just begin preparing yourself mentally for the worst case scenario. Try to leave alive, basically should be our goal.

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  39. Another pregnant teacher

    Have any pregnant teachers had their ADA leave approved? I’m wondering if it’s even worth the effort to submit the paperwork, or if it’s just going to be denied anyway. The part that scares me is having all face to face students back 4 days a week starting in February. I have informally surveyed mine and most (more than 75%) are planning to come back. So come February I could easily have almost 30 in my room every day. And I teach high school, which we know is the worst age group when it comes to ignoring covid precautions and spreading the virus. Another factor is that pregnant women have not been approved for the vaccine. I miss my kids and don’t want to abandon them or create more work for my colleagues by not going back, but I also have to think about protecting my own baby.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

    8
  40. Educated/educator

    I could rely on my faith and admit that God is in control…but at best, He gave us common sense to use during these unprecedented times. Yes, we are being bullied to go back to work in January. And yes, we will lose our jobs if we refused. And yes, DCSD worries more about losing their funding than they are about losing the lives of their teachers, staff, and students. Just yesterday, DeKalb sent out an email allowing employees to temporarily allow their children to attend the schools where they work. My stance is this, if I don’t feel comfortable enough sending my 8 and 5 year olds to their own schools, why would I want them to come to mine?
    DeKalb could care less about our well-being. It’s just how I feel. If I could retire, I would. But I am a single parent of three and my mortgage, car insurance, electricity, and groceries need to be taken care of like clockwork.
    People are entitled to their worldviews, opinions, and faith. How will January look? Or worse, February when all students return? I’m not sure but at this moment in my life I want to focus on spending quality time with my family.

    13
  41. @ Another pregnant teacher, girl, do what’s best for you. Dekalb doesn’t care if you come out of this alive and those parents surely don’t care. You need to put yourself first. That’s your answer. This whole thing is evil and the good people need to accept that. They don’t care about you or anyone else in that building.

    12
  42. Pregnant in DeKalb

    Pregnant teacher,

    DeKalb definitely doesn’t care and neither do administrators. When I was pregnant my doctor wrote strict instructions about me needing to stay off my feet or risk going into pre-term labor. My administrator basically threw that letter in the trash. I ended up going into labor early (thank God my baby was fine) and even got phone calls about my lesson plans while I was in the hospital recovering. Take care of yourself first. Nobody else will.

    11
  43. Safety concerns

    @Another pregnant teacher,

    Try talking directly to the Leave office, to see if you can start your leave early with you OB’s recommendation. Also, try having your doctor’s office, union rep, and/or lawyer talk to the the ADA office. There isn’t a set time to respond to ADA requests, but not responding in a timely fashion can be actionable. We keep getting told that we should make requests to the ADA office, but I’m not sure what is going on there.

    1
  44. Stan,
    When is the county going to let displaced teachers know where and when they are moving? Apparently, they’ve already started to let administration know, but don’t you think teachers should have some time to process it? Parents are also going to want to know what’s up too. Is that something that you guys are going to throw at us on January 4th?

    3
  45. @Anonymous, I don’t know what the time table is for telling displaced teachers. The school principal might know.

  46. I had the same pregnancy experience as Pregnant in DeKalb. @Another Pregnant Teacher: do what you need to to feel safe for your baby.

    3
  47. I'm just saying.

    2805 American lives lost to Civid-19 yesterday. I’m just saying.

    4
  48. @ I’m just saying, Surely Dekalb knows how high the numbers are. They are not blind or deaf. They simply don’t care about us. They know people will get hurt. Just sit back and let Karma do it’s thing. What goes around comes around.

    11
  49. DSW2Contributor

    @Pregnant Teacher: Please, please, please make the effort to submit your ADA paperwork. You *have* to do it for yourself, your children, your other family and loved ones.

    6
  50. Concerned teacher

    Will the Board be meeting f2f at AIC with an audience beginning Jan. 19th, and without restrictions beginning Feb. 8th? Because that needs to happen. What’s good for the goose, you know.

    30
  51. Concerned teacher

    @F2F Option Now,

    It’s really great that you know some people who got COVID & then recovered. I know some people who got COVID & died, including my neighbor across the street. Sure, some people get better, but others die, and it’s a game of Russian roulette that I’d rather not play.

    The reason that people in this thread are giving the same talking points about what f2f is going to look like is because that’s what the county has told us f2f will look like. Stacy Stepney & Monika Davis have outlined what “concurrent” teaching will be: Teachers will be required to be teaching on Teams/Zoom/Google Classroom for the students who chose to remain virtual while *concurrently* teaching the f2f students. How exactly do you think that’s going to work? The only webcams that the District has provided are the webcams built into the Chromebooks. Which means the only way that teachers will be able to teach the virtual students is by sitting at the desks on their Chromebooks, like they’ve been doing all year so far. Which means the only way that f2f students will be learning is by doing the same: sitting at their school desks on their Chromebooks. This is what Ms. Stepney & Ms. Davis have told us. This is what colleagues in other districts have told us they do already.

    As far as having a small group of students to go f2f as a “pilot” study, that would be great if teachers were also afforded the same choice. DCSD has repeatedly stated that requests for leave will be on case-by-case basis, and that no teacher should expect to be granted leave. Keep in mind that CARES Act extensions to ADA expire on Dec. 31st, so we revert to run-of-the-mill ADA rules come January. Right now, CARES Act **may** allow pregnant women or caregivers of immunocompromised parents to telework, but not in January! They won’t even be able to take disability leave because pregnancy & caregiving aren’t disabilities. The only “choice” teachers will have is to quit. And even though we’ve heard Mrs. Watson-Harris espouse “compassion over compliance” with regard to teaching certificates, that’s not what people have heard from HR.

    So, yes, it’s great that YOU get to make a choice for YOUR family, but WE do not.

    19
  52. Trying to Retire....

    Reposting because it hasn’t been addressed yet.

    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??

    13
  53. FWIW, the photo on the DCSD website banner about the “School Reopening Plan” shows a line of non-socially distanced mask-wearing children having their temperatures taken in what sure looks like a classroom.

    SO,
    Does this mean that kids will get all the way into their classrooms before “someone” takes their temperature?

    This is NOT a good idea.

    Parents and teachers should use this photo POSTED BY DCSD and ask exactly

    IF someone will take temps when F2F “learning” begins,
    WHEN and WHERE that will be done,
    WHO will take the temperatures — there’s no way I believe that DCSD will have a thermometer for every teacher!
    WHAT will happen if the kid’s temperature is too high

    This is basic info that should already have been clearly communicated. Hey, DCSD has a highly paid Communications Director PLUS a highly paid Communications contractor. What the heck are they doing?

    16
  54. waitingforgodot

    Stan,

    Did the board ever ask the superintendent, our biggest cheerleader, what she was doing about the fact that the majority of the district’s champions and equity warriors or stakeholders said they are not comfortable teaching in Dekalb’s schools?

    In October, the board learned that 82% of employees were not comfortable returning to a traditional model and 64% were not comfortable doing a hybrid measure. Despite this information, the superintendent figured out a way to do both-teachers working all days in the building while also doing hybrid.

    The 100 Day Plan makes claims of improvement strategies based on stakeholder input. Guess one stakeholder group doesn’t matter. I can’t imagine sending my child off to any place that has the majority of adults working there not comfortable being there. Or not knowing what’s going on.

    Onward and Upward, alright. The Covid cases will go.

    22
  55. waitingforgodot

    Anonymous and other folks concerned about safety,

    The district isn’t even pretending to do this right. These are some safety protocols about classrooms and ventilation and travel between classes, dated 10/15/20.

    classes SHOULD be limited to 12 to 16 AS FEASIBLE

    classrooms SHOULD be arranged so desks or seating are as physically distanced AS POSSIBLE

    6 feet is the RECOMMENDED maximum distance apart when travelling through halls WHEN FEASIBLE

    increased fresh air introduced in accordance with the CDC and industry recommendations TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE with our current systems

    Would love to know what the eleven medical professionals advising the superintendent told her about these protocols. I wouldn’t want any doctor recommending Dekalb’s 2020-2021 plan, as it is, anywhere near me or my family.

    14
  56. No temp checks

    @anonymous, we have been explicitly told that there will be NO temp checks of any kind. Not before kids enter the building. Teachers not allowed to temp on the way into classrooms. The only person in the building allowed to take a temperature is the school nurse, who is not even in the building for the full school day because she only works 6 hour shifts. So, no temp checks, masks “encouraged,” and social distance “to the extent possible” with 16-34 students in each classroom. Should be fine!

    15
  57. “Super” sick of Nonsense

    @Stan
    Let’s get something correct it’s not the going back it’s the HOW of Dekalbs lack of plan while send sacrificing the people at schools of going back while pretend getting they’ve been doing anything to prepare for this. It’s the lack of plan thrown at principals. It’s the EXTREME lack of proper PPE and cleaning up to CDC guideline’s they NEVER intended to even try and follow to make work. The attempt the throw ALL teachers under the bus and when all hell trains down further say it’s on them they were responsible because that’s what they have been doing repeatedly. Ms. Cheerleader hasn’t come out and said to the entire county publicly our teachers have been doing all they can in an impossible situation and we are going to make certain when it’s safe or those who are ready to go back can and will be able yo do so with ALL our support behind them in place. No instead it’s don’t worry we are working on it, each time. We will be transparent (*que the laughter). Instead it’s all talk while nothing was done. They could have reached out repeatedly to other parents, organizations, companies, groups, etc. to ask for more insight into how to prepare properly and in the best way possible. They chose to deliberately not do any of those things. Now they are choosing to also ignore CDC guidelines as well as what was set in place and surveyed in the community as agreed upon guidelines for a safe/comfortable return. Tell me, where is the new survey for this plan? They don’t want that answer or the following results do they. They also distill refused to meet requested (repeatedly) from the beginning a guideline or plan of action like other counties (you can pull them up yourself) as they were even posted PRIOR to schools beginning or attempting to open doors (that being said many still followed guidelines as best as possible) others got together with individual schools for what would work best for them. DeKalb has done ZERO. It’s disgusting. Be it ANY other county or simply choosing private or choosing another state or country may be better than DeKalb was the simple point being made for next year. As for legal jeopardy, personally, I hope everyone responsible for someone suffering unnecessarily ahead is held fully accountable and to the fullest extent. If DeKalb has board members not ready to pay for teachers, staffs, or children’s families who contract anything by forcing those individuals to return them they should have zero say in that decision. If they are ready to fork out the capital to pay for medical expenses, potential death and expenses incurred through this, and help sup potty those families after then please by all means allow them to dictate who goes back when. If not do me a favor and ask the board and superintendent to drop by sans vaccines and breathe in one of our COVID wings in the hospital and gamble with the best of them. Personally, I don’t want to treat assholes anymore I have my hands full with innocent people who deserve our time, supplies, and care. Sound harsh? Let’s trade your last year of life for mine something says what the board behind the computers is doing and the super wouldn’t be handling this all so cavalier or trying to dictate to the minority squawking about returns, but maybe a good dose of eye opening reality would help make that decision easier for these folks.
    @ Yes
    Definitely not in teaching myself (I’ve helped volunteer for schools my entire life though) because I respect those I’ve known my whole life in the profession as well as family and friends who work throughout several schools including in GA in varying positions (from teacher to substitute to administrators to a principal to school nurses even a lovely librarian). I respect each of them and know how much they dedicate their lives. I will be damned as a parent though to sit silently or idly by allowing any of them or their mutual colleagues to think all parents are in opposition of them or uncaring for them and their families while they are put up sacrificially by people meant to protect them now more than ever.

    20
  58. I'm just saying.

    2628 American lives lost to Covid-19 yesterday. I’m just saying.

    5
  59. Super Cheerleader

    Since DeKalb is so confident in returning I fully expect the Super Cheerleader to be in our schools every single day, subbing and watching the kids. I fully expect for the board to meet in person WITH the public. I fully expect for the regional superintendents to be in the schools every day as well. You want us to go back? Fine. Assume the same level of risk we’re all taking, Watson-Harris. Don’t sit in your ivory tower and waive your pom poms out the window.

    32
  60. talking about being tone deaf

    This quote from cheerleader in chief, “The only “choice” teachers will have is to quit. And even though we’ve heard Mrs. Watson-Harris espouse “compassion over compliance” with regard to teaching certificates, that’s not what people have heard from HR.

    22
  61. Compassion over Compliance

    What subterfuge. Hey cheerleader, here is a more accurate truism for you to start using. “Sickness and possibly Death over Life versus Safety”.

    12
  62. Welcome to Dekalb. They LIE about everything all the time. If you speak up, you get bullied severely to the point you won’t dare speak up again.

    20
  63. I have taught at the same school in DCSD for 20 years. I know the building VERY well. I am returning because I have no choice. However, I will not allow my child, who is currently a student at my school, to return, and none of her friends are returning either. That in itself should demonstrate that as a PARENT I have absolutely zero confidence in their ability to protect my child under this new plan that was devised in haste and does not at all follow the guidelines of science when it comes to safely re-opening schools. DCSD claims to care about children, but they are just numbers to them, like the staff.

    22
  64. And by the way-the parents concerned about temperature checks, if you were a teacher you would know that parents dose up their children with fever reducers before school. They are obviously sick, but we can’t send them home unless they have a temperature. The medicine wares off around lunchtime and we finally get a fever reading on the thermometer. By then the day is 1/2 over and the parents “try their best” to get to the school to pick up their sick child. This is literally a daily occurrence. Temperature checks are a joke. Parents will send sick children to school. This virus is airborne. It will spread to other children.

    Who wants to make bets on how long it takes before parents are on Stan’s board complaining about their children contracting Covid at school and Dekalb not doing a good job with cleaning/quarantining? Who wants to bet the parents here will be the biggest complainers after teachers have told you repeatedly Dekalb is incompetent and the schools are filthy and disease ridden? I bet this board will be full of parent complaints by February.

    22
  65. Super Cheerleader

    Tone deaf,

    Correct! They’re also not responding to those certification questions in writing because they know that correspondence will go straight to the AJC. All of these people have been saying, “If you don’t want to go back just quit!” What they don’t understand is that DeKalb is threatening to fine us hundreds of dollars and take our certifications so that it’s impossible for us to ever teach again. All because we don’t want to catch C19. I either quit and lose my ability to earn a living and support my family in my chosen field, or I risk catching C19 and dying. Thanks, Watson-Harris! Don’t worry, she’ll be waiving her pom poms for us when we’re on ventilators or trying to teach from our hospital beds because DeKalb isn’t paying for C19 sick time, either.

    16
  66. I Need Babysitters

    That’s the only logical reasons parents will send their kids back to contract Covid.

    9
  67. @I Need Babysitters: EXACTLY!

    3
  68. @sterling Apparently you are outdated on the 21st century pedagogy of teaching and learning. I never use worksheets even during COVID. Learning should be relevant and incorporate course content into the real world. It is not about Milestones. By the way.. my students have always done well and I never teach the TEST. That Milestone test only assesses a minimum level of understanding. You need to catch up!

  69. @Just Saying

    You don’t mean incorporate real world examples into the course, making the content meaningful and relevant?

    Students don’t practice with models, no pencil paper ?

    ‘my student have always done well?’ How do you measure well?

    In University we still have these things called tests. Some exposure prior to these tests provides reediness for these tests.

    But then, your students only do ‘well’ given the minimum level of understanding.

    Please do not feel the need to respond; I will not.

  70. dekalbHSteacher

    @I Need Babysitters
    You do realize that my high school students are already acting as babysitters, right? During live sessions with me they are also helping little siblings with their work and technology issues. The parents in our school community are not able to work from home; they don’t have that privilege and class status. They cook the meals we order for delivery, check out our groceries, staff the convenience stores where we get gas, and fix our roofs after storms. They are out there working every day. Our social contract calls for us to provide a safe place for their kids while they keep our economy going. It is NOT safe for groups of elementary age kids to be watched over by middle school students during the day in our apt. complexes. Let’s not create a straw man argument about our parents.

    9
  71. Essentialworker

    @i need babysitters-

    I’m not sending my kid back for a babysitter. I’m having to send them to a center for school daily so my husband and I can go INTO our jobs to provide a service that YOU use. There are many jobs that are not able to be done remotely. We made a tough decision to send our kids to a center for school because we believe our jobs are essential and important. Are we selfish? What would you have grocery store employees, nurses, other healthcare workers, public utility workers do? How about you stop using all these services and then you can complain about parents just wanting babysitters. And as dekalbhsteacher said above like it or.not our social contract only works because there is school to send our kids to. Maybe we should all stay home and teach our kids and you can figure out how to feed yourself, get power, prescription drugs and healthcare. Sign me up for that. After reading all of these comments I’m terrified some teachers are helping educate my child.

    5
  72. DSW2Contributor

    In the AJC:
    ——————————————————————————————
    The recent increase in coronavirus cases in Cobb County following the Thanksgiving holiday has made its way into the local school systems.

    An additional 356 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been added to the Cobb County School District’s tally of cumulative cases that have been reported since the summer. The district on Friday updated its website to show it now has 1,570 confirmed cases since July 1.

    That’s up from 1,214 cases it reported as of Tuesday. The Cobb County School District, which finished the first semester with remote learning due to the uptick in cases in the community, updates its website each Friday.
    ——————————————————————————————
    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-reaches-cobb-marietta-schools/5VG7WXB5UFGRXAID2IFFWXMZEQ/

    5
  73. Pop the popcorn! This is going to be a train wreck!

    5
  74. Henri de Vastey

    @ dekalbHSteacher: I fully agree with you. I just spoke to a high school senior about a college recommendation she asked me to write. Today, why so late? I asked. She told me what most teachers know already: she was overwhelmed with helping her 3rd grade brother and her 6th grade sister with online work. It is not safe for her and her siblings, as you say, for schools to remain closed.

    @ essentialworker: Thanks to you and your husband for being essential workers. I hope your employers have made it as safe as possible for you to risk your life at work. In March, my wife and I raised Cain at Kroger and Publix, so they would provide masks and Plexiglas for their cashiers. And no, you are absolutely not selfish. I know you carefully investigated the center you entrusted with your children and are satisfied with the degree of safety the center offers. Of course, you will demand a certain degree of safety from your children’s schools.

    The solution to the issues both of you present is not dependent on teachers just returning to school. It is dependent on teachers returning to school with a modicum of safety.

    The business of providing a modicum of safety for the safe return to school is not the function of teachers. Whose business is it? It is to those whose business it is to plan and organize a safe return you should talk.

    Reasonable teachers are with both of you. They do not disagree with the urgent need for returning to school. They want to go back.

    Reasonable teachers simply disagree with the timing of returning at the highest point of infection and, after a winter break that experts predict will yield an even higher infection rates for 4 January. This affects both students and teachers.

    Reasonable teachers simply disagree with the timing (which precludes teachers with valid medical issues to process documentations before 4 January) of the return announcement with just 3 working days.

    Reasonable teachers disagree with the coherence of the return plan and with the minimum of safety expressed in the plan. This affects both students and teachers.

    Reasonable teachers do not believe that students and teachers should just “…without question or pause …be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause…”.

    25
  75. Henri de Vastey

    No teacher or schoolhouse staff is opposed to returning to the schoolhouse and to children they miss so much.

    Some have postponed their planned retirement of June 2020 and are now strongly considering delaying it to June 2022. They want to leave after 30 years of classroom teaching with normal memories of student milestones and accomplishments instead of leaving with the impersonality of virtual teaching.

    All teachers want to enjoy a full normal year with back-to-school, homecoming, football, final examinations, mock trial, basketball, prom, graduation…etc…

    Please do not for one moment think that teachers do not want to go back to the classroom. Teachers just want to go back in a safe and organized way for students and themselves.

    What is asked of teachers is not to think, not to have an opinion, and not to be concerned. Unfortunately, by nature, teachers think, have opinions, and care.

    It is reasonable for schoolhouse staff and parents to expect the return to the schoolhouse to be safe and organized. After all, other metro county schools have been Face-to-Face/Hybrid for months, thus giving the Dekalb County School District ample time to develop expertise and to equip its schools with Covid-19 mitigating devices.

    Plainly speaking, everyone has the right to expect that DCSD is now procedurally and technically “ahead” of where Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett started months ago. That would give great comfort for students, parents, and school staff.

    Is that the case? Are parents, and school staff feeling comforted and safe to return face-to-face in January 2021? Where can they draw that comfort and confidence?

    If March-July 2020 were the Stone Age of Covid-19 for Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett, then surely August-December 2020 are the Bronze Age for Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett. We can expect that January 2021 will be the beginning of the Iron Age of Covid-19 for Georgia schools.

    21
  76. Gwinnett’s at 674 today, which is where I live. You people in charge of the school systems are crazy. This is insane. At what point will the #’s be too high?

    10
  77. Meeting Minutes

    Mr. de Vastey,

    Perfectly stated!

    5
  78. Please clarify

    Stan, can you please explain what influence and role the board has in making and implementing the return to school plan. If the board was told the metric was being changed to under 10%, have they not asked for an explanation for why that metric was abandoned. Does CWH not need to answer questions from the school board? As dismayed as I am by the lack of planning or transparency, I am also disturbed by the sense that the Superintendent does not answer to anybody.

    23
  79. @Essential worker. I totally agree with you that there is a social contract in place that is there so that parents can work and children can learn and grow in a safe environment. We do not feel like you look to us as babysitters, but we often do feel that the system does. Teachers did not create the social contract, which was broken before the pandemic in my opinion, and they have no say in how the social contract is implemented. That is what frustrates us, and then when there is a serious situation like this pandemic, we are blamed in large part for not accepting what is being told by those who do hold the controls of the social contract, because they do not care if it is working or not. We are in the classroom every day and we know largely what is best and safe for our students, but we are never asked, and now they want us to blindly believe that they have our best interests and the student’s best interests at heart. There was a national failure to create a plan for schools and that is also a breach of the social contract. We have always wanted to be back in the classroom, but we are skeptical of decision makers who time and time again have not made good decisions. It is only because we are deeply concerned about protecting our students, their families, ourselves and our families.

    16
  80. DSW2Contributor

    Breaking News from USA Today:
    ———————————————-
    Police, firefighters, teachers and grocery workers will be among those next in line for a COVID-19 vaccine, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel decided Sunday.

    The committee voted 13-1 to recommend that Phase 1b include people 75 and older and front-line essential workers…… Phase 1a includes front-line health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.

    “Essential workers are at high risk because of exposure, by virtue of being in contact with others, in performing their duties. Prevention of disease in essential workers may reduce transmission to others,” said Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a CDC physician who is co-lead on the advisory committee’s COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group.

    These workers are considered essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure to SARS-Co/V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They make up about 30 million people among these groups:

    First responders such as firefighters, police
    Teachers, support staff, day care workers
    Food and agriculture workers
    Manufacturing workers
    Correction workers
    U.S. Postal Service workers
    Public transit workers
    Grocery store workers…………. Because vaccine supplies are initially limited, Phase 1b isn’t expected to begin until February.
    ————————————————–
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/12/20/covid-19-vaccine-police-firefighters-teachers-could-next-line/3982963001/

    The article is hard to follow, but it says teachers & staff are in “Phase 1b” and “Phase 1b” will start getting their shots during February. This means that our teachers and other staff *might* be safe from the virus by the 3rd week of March! (Assuming they are actually able to get the first shot during the first two weeks of February, then actually able to get the second shot during the 3rd and 4th weeks of February, then allow two more weeks for the antibodies to develop.)

    Come to think of it, this also explains how Biden was able to say he was going to get the schools open safely during his first 100 days.

    8
  81. Dear Stan

    Will everyone be required to wear a mask? Will the schools supply mask? How about on the bus? What will the procedure be for students that are ill and come to school? Where will they stay until they can be sent home? How will social distancing be maintained?

    I hope that these decisions will not be left up to the individual school administrators. There are some very good and strong leaders, but there are some that have a hard time with the day to day duties.

    If staff is suppose to return on January 4, 2021, when will this information be shared. Both staff and visitors need to know the expectations.

    12
  82. s/rockdale-public-schools-postpones-in-person-learning-until-february/article_6687f782-40a1-11eb-a2f5-eb899c6d8245.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

    10
  83. DSW2Contributor

    From the Rockdale-Newton County Citizens newspaper:
    —————————————————————————
    CONYERS — Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts announced the school system will postpone the return of in-person learning on the hybrid schedule until after the February break.

    “As I’ve previously communicated, our ultimate decisions regarding the resumption of in-person learning would be based on our local public health data,” said Oatts in a released statement. “With the current levels of COVID-19 infection rates so prevalent within our county and with the anticipated escalation after the upcoming holiday season, the risk of prematurely returning students to our schools at this time for in-person learning is simply too great for both staff and students.”

    Oatts said the school system has taken “significant mitigation measures” to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection; however, the pervasiveness of the disease within the community requires “additional caution and discretion.”

    “Our planning, which includes implementing a hybrid schedule as well as establishing school-based COVID-19 testing through our recently acquired telehealth services, is sound; however, we must work collectively for the best chance of success at reducing infection rates in our communities,” said Oatts.

    The new target date for resuming in-person instruction will now be Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.
    ———————————————————————————————————————-
    https://www.rockdalenewtoncitizen.com/news/rockdale-public-schools-postpones-in-person-learning-until-february/article_6687f782-40a1-11eb-a2f5-eb899c6d8245.html

    21
  84. Without any Regard For Teacher's Well Being

    I wish Dekalb’s myopic mendacious decisions were as perspicacious

    4
  85. I'm just saying.

    1422 American lives lost to Covid-19 yesterday. I’m just saying.

    6
  86. Has the Superintendent given any indication as to what brought about such an extreme change in her response to COVID. If I remember correctly it was about a month ago that Stan asked her if Teachers could be permitted to teach virtually from their classrooms and the response he got was that no teachers were to be allowed in the building.

    One of the things that people need is consistency. When there is a policy change, there needs to be an explanation as to why the policy changed.

    Also, I think the intend to return survey is useless for two main reasons.

    1. The survey was based upon the metrics and approach that was in place when we were surveyed.
    2. What is now planned was never an option for return to school. When we responded for our family one of the key factors that caused us to say “no” was that day to day consistency for our 4th grader was very important. The previous plan did not offer that. for those who indicated they wanted to return to face to face instruction.

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  87. Resignation Questions

    Something I learned on my quest to resign is that DeKalb can (and likely will) deny my resignation request. How did we (teachers) get ourselves locked into such a crappy contract? We can’t quit/resign without approval from the county, and if we’re even allowed to quit the county can have our certifications pulled. But, the county can furlough us at a moment’s notice—even after we’ve signed contracts with a specific salary listed. I envy the states that have unions because this would not fly in those states.

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  88. This whole thread just makes me sad.

    I think our little school is an island, because our teachers are excited to be going back and I don’t think it’s a case of them not telling the truth (several are good friends of mine). We also have an active foundation who will make sure everything that can possibly be done for our teachers is done (and funded).

    I think the way this was rolled out was just awful. I hate seeing teachers say things like “they don’t listen to us” – mainly because I’ve always taken the opinion of our teachers very seriously. I trust them with my kids and value their insight on my children.

    Also, I don’t know if others feel this but I think our school admin and teachers were not blindsighted by this announcement. I think they were aware for at least a few weeks. I say this based on several interactions, including our school counselor…it just seems like they all knew a return to in-person was forthcoming. I wonder why some schools had a heads up and others didn’t?

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  89. @DeKalb Parent: that is great that your school seems prepared for the 4th, but I can tell you that our faculty meeting last week did not at all convey that sentiment. As for your teacher friends being happy about going back, that may well be the case, and that is great that they feel confident about the return; I truly wish that I shared that sentiment. I am also friends with parents through my child, who is graduating HS this year, and has known their children since the age of 3. However, I never express how I truly feel about things because as a veteran employee I know that that is potentially a career ending experience. Teaching is a great profession, but it is a niche profession, and once you have been in it a while, you are largely viewed as only being able to be a teacher, so losing your job can have life altering consequences. Again, the pandemic is only bringing to light things that teachers are always concerned about and have always been concerned about. Some of us are drawing a line because this time it involves the potential loss of life or long term health consequences.

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  90. F2F Option Now

    I know that face to face instruction will be terrible but I feel so strongly that it should be an option that even if it’s like prison (as it’s being described in many comments) it’ll still be better than some situations DeKalb’s children are in. That’s what I think so many opponents of going back to the classroom refuse to understand or believe or have just accepted that shutting down for a virus with a survival rate of 99.9% (for those under 70) takes precedence over all the other risks DeKalb’s children face on the daily.

    If we don’t start somewhere we’ll never get anywhere. Wait til the teachers get vaccinated? Great! I am sure that’ll take care of the concerns…or maybe not. Unfortunately I am already hearing the drumbeat of people saying we should be waiting til children are able to get vaccinated…so 2022? Maybe? Also – even when vaccinated still gotta wear a mask and social distance. So school will still be prison, right? It’s never going to end. It’s never going to be enough.

    TBH I don’t see f2f happening anyway. I am sure those opposing it will ‘win’ based on my many years of experience in DeKalb. So while reading these comments and being disappointed by many of them (esp since I know some who are commenting aren’t even in DeKalb’s district) – I am pretty certain that our kids won’t have an option to see a classroom this year. I just pray for those kids who could really use one. That’s it. I feel for the teachers who are scared. The county should be doing more for you. I feel for the parents who have given up so much to manage virtual learning. But mostly, I feel for those kids who will be left behind or who won’t make it through this. Beat me up for that statement – I don’t care – but that’s who I’ve been fighting for from the beginning.

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  91. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^ @Resignation Questions, realize this:

    (1) School districts are *NOT* required to report educators who break their contracts to the PSC. (A few months ago, there was an AJC article about this and the author quoted the PSC on this.)

    (2) The Palace has repeatedly failed to report educators who they were required to report to the PSC — that’s why Steven Green is no longer Superintendent.

    (3) PAGE says that the PSC will recommend a 90 day suspension to your certificate if you break your contract:
    https://www.pageinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Contract_Nov_2012.pdf

    I just can’t see the PSC suspending the certs of teachers who have paperwork showing their ADA requests were denied, that they were pregnant, etc., and even if the PSC were to suspend your certificate, it would only be for 90 days…. so the worst thing that can happen to you is that you’ll be on an unpaid sabbatical for a half year.

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  92. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ @ F2F Option Now:

    You suck at math and are full of crap.

    See this USA Today article from May:
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/05/05/covid-19-fact-check-coronavirus-mortality-rate-misleading/3019503001/

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  93. I'm just saying.

    Dear F2F Option now. Your child will see the classroom again but the teachers and educators that have died will not. I’m just saying.

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  94. F2F Option Now

    I’m just saying –
    And some of those kids most vulnerable to all the other risk factors of being out of school won’t see a classroom either. Two sides of the same coin, I guess. No easy answer but keeping kids out of school for sure is not the answer.

    DSW –
    Can you break that out by age category? Actually, an article from May might as well have been a lifetime ago – we have so much more knowledge, testing, and data now. Check out the latest CDC data. Oh and covid related deaths mean suicides, cancer gone unchecked, drug overdoses, etc. It doesn’t mean they died OF covid. They died due to lockdowns of schools and such. It doesn’t really matter though. You literally can’t convince me it’s safer to not have kids in school. I do appreciate your advocacy for teachers. They deserve better for sure.

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  95. Resignation Questions

    DSW2Contributor,

    Thanks for the information. After a lot of thought, I’ve actually decided to leave teaching altogether. I will probably stay until the end of the year so that I can get the summer pay I’ve earned. Hopefully I have a job lined up by August/September when the summer pay runs out. Either way, this will be my last year teaching.

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  96. @ Resignation Questions, my last year too. I have had enough. I wonder how many of us there are? When contracts go out, it may be a shocking moment for superintendents and board members. How many vacancies will be left open when 2021-22 begins? A big wake up call to parents too. We are not your pawns.

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  97. Hello @Yes and @Resignation Questions. Thank you for your service at DeKalb Schools. If you’re going to continue working, what is it your are looking for in employment outside of DeKalb Schools? Is working from home important? Is the salary or pension important? Are getting Thanksgiving, Christmas and Summer breaks important? Obviously, wherever you go … there will be less BS. I’m trying to better understand what you’re looking for outside of DeKalb Schools? Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well as teaching our children. –Stan

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