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

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. This is from the Georgia Department of Public Health. #’s are supposed to be out at 3:00! It’s 3:10.

    “NOTE: Due to a high volume of numbers to process, the COVID-19 update for 12-24-2020 will be delayed several hours. Please check back after 5 p.m. for today’s update”

    I WANT ANSWERS NOW PERTAINING AS TO WHY WE ARE REALLY RETURNING JANUARY 4. Clearly, CLEARLY safety is an issue. It is not safe if the numbers have increased soooo much that the Georgia department of health can’t handle the increase in numbers to post at the normal time and need 2 additional hours to calculate them! We want the truth NOW! I’ve had it with the lies!

  2. Dissent isn't Denial

    Yes, they’ve had system delays before, lets not start looking for Jimmy Hoffa just yet.


    Fantastic critique of how the pandemic has played out in our social discourse, this site included.

    “Mislabeling dissent over serious policy disagreements as denial has contributed to the extended closure of public schools, which could ultimately be viewed as the single biggest policy blunder in the pandemic. Early advocates of reopening schools were routinely accused of Covid-19 denial — or worse. Today, public health advice increasingly favors keeping schools open whenever possible, in part because the consequences of closed schools are serious. But it is a hard message to get across now that the issue has been so badly politicized.”

  3. Liar-I look everyday and they’ve never had delays for high volume of numbers

  4. Someone suggested reading comments on Dicosta’s Facebook page. I did. So what? It’s filled with North DeKalb types ranting about F2F instruction without any regard for the safety of the adults in the schoolhouses. Frankly, I’m dumbfounded by the sheer close-mindedness of North DeKalb types pushing for F2F instruction no matter what. I ask again don’t they know that F2F will not be ANYTHING like what their children experienced pre-COVID. There is no way that I am going to go a student’s desk, walk around the room, accept anything handed to me from a student, have a student at my desk, assist a student in any way other than on the Chromebook. I will minimize my speaking to them and especially their speaking to me. I wouldn’t be able to understand most of them anyway as most of them (hopefully) will have on masks.

    And there’s the rub. STUDENTS CANNOT BE FORCED TO WEAR MASKS, but school staff members are. How in the hell is that following CDC guidelines? DeKalb is a complete crock: no duty-free lunch, forced coverage of classes of absent teachers (by placing those students in other teachers’ class whether the class being taught is the same or not), being required to sanitize desks in between classes (without sanitizer materials), etc.

    It will take 15 or 20 years for DeKalb to recover any sort of credibility for any sort of credible teacher to want to come here. This seals the deal: DeKalb Schools dies on January 4, 2021.

  5. “Northeast Georgia Health Care System says they’re filled to capacity”

    Hello, people who decided to open schools December 1st! Hellooooo! Do.you.read.the.news?

  6. @Humpty Dance. I actually think that the comments on DaCosta’s site show that yes, certain people in the north of the county are pushing for the return, and that should come as mo surprise, but that commenters on his page are not for a return to school, nor is he.

  7. Only 7958 Covid Cases Reported Today In GA.

    Hey, cheerleader(less) . did you see that??.Probably will hit 10,000 in January

  8. DSW2Contributor

    Dr. Amber Schmidtke, PhD says Georgia had 10,326 new confirmed Covid-19 cases today:

    I presume the DOH website has not been updated yet because Dr. Toomey is trying to figure out how to adjust the Y-axis range on her graphs.

    Also, I’ve read that the data over the long weekend will be very iffy because testing centers are closed.

  9. @ DSW2Contributor, yeah I fully expect Christmas and New Years to throw the numbers off. Thank you for the update. Gwinnett is in the 700’s now and they’re the geniuses who have been f2f since August. Obviously schools are spreading Covid. We deserve an explanation as to why she changed her mind about the numbers.

  10. Henri de Vastey

    If dissent is not denial, then dissent can neither be why schools are closed. Most here agree with your citation stating: “…whenever possible….”.

    One of the issues on the table is simply: are we now scientifically at that “whenever-possible-stage” based on scientific and non-political grounds? Is that your view even with the current conditions as reported by the scientific community? Is the scientific community less trustworthy than other communities?

    A quick review of the various state departments of education and departments of health around the nation include phrasings such as “All Pre-K to 12 schools should continually monitor the PREVALENCE and SPREAD of Covid-19 in their communities and be prepared to implement stronger containment or mitigation strategies SUCH AS REMOTE LEARNING, when necessary and IN LINE with public health guidance.

    The other issue deals with the operationality that can be provided by air cleaning equipment, ventilation, and physical barriers to protect the safety and health of all student and adult staff in the classroom. It appears that changing the filters of HVAC units, provision for masks and Clorox wipes have dominated the discussion. Is that sufficient for you? Do you know what else was done to promote minimum acceptable safety for students and staff in the school?

    Finally, how does your understanding of a return to hybrid or face-to-face at your school conforms with the CDC’s guidance for events and gatherings? Are some of the circumstances and settings in the classroom sort of analogous to those described below?


    • Community levels of COVID-19 – High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. Information on the number of cases in an area can often be found on the local health department website or on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker County View.

    • Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.

    • Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small, enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.

    • Duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires quarantine.

    • Number and crowding of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart, wear masks, wash hands, and follow state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

    • Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.

    • Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented.

  11. Dissent isn't Denial

    Bonsoir Henri,

    It’s my personal feeling that were well beyond the “whenever possible” stage, especially when presented with the alternative of distance/remote learning, as measured by educational achievement and overall enrollment. Clearly everyone has a varying degree to when is possible. If the building is actively on fire: not possible. If the soap dispenser on my hallway isn’t refilled: possible. Working to achieve safeguards for students and staff (mask wearing, sanitation, distancing) is paramount, but not as unachievable as others would suggest.

    We’ve all been challenged to evaluate cost and benefit on a greater scale these days with regards to all of our interactions.

    The benefits of virtual schooling are a reduced risk (not eliminated risk, see Dr. Herring) of exposure to Covid-19, less risk of a car accident on the way to school, more flexible schedules for teachers and staff.

    My question, and the greater question writ large, is at what cost? How long do we think we can honestly keep inflicting this damage on these children before its irreversible? Especially those early-learners, ESOL, or economically challenged.

    Some perspective from across the pond:


  12. One interesting point in the above mentioned article from the Atlantic is that Europeans do not understand why Americans focus more on educating wealthy children than they do on educating other socioeconomic groups. It is one of the reasons why we are in this conundrum: if we invested as much in public facilities & resources as we do in private, which are much less common in European systems, then we would surely be in a different situation today. Also, children do not mix with each other in the same way that they do in school here; especially when it comes to high school. The CDC recommends children stay in “pods” with minimal interaction with other “pods”, which is impossible in a high school. We are comparing apples to oranges here when it comes to other school systems in the world. Ours is quite unique and poses unique challenges that have not been addressed, and they have had since March to address them.

    The vaccine will soon be available for teachers. We are about to enter the worst two months of this of the pandemic. Makes absolutely no sense to return under these conditions.

  13. DSW2Contributor

    @Dissent isn’t Denial: The return to F2F is *not* about stopping the damage being inflicted on the children — *fear* of losing state funding is what is driving the return to F2F. School funding is not my area of expertise, but I’ll try my best to explain.

    The amount of money DCSD and other school districts get each year is determined by Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Act (QBE.) The QBE takes the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students enrolled in a district, enters those numbers into some math formulas, and spits out the amount of state funds the district gets. Basically:
    More enrolled students ==> More $$$$ for DCSD
    Less enrolled students ==> Less $$$$ for DCSD

    At the beginning of December, the state reported that DCSD’s enrollment had dropped by 5.4%. If the state went ahead and plugged our current enrollment numbers into the QBE formulas then DCSD’s funding would be cut by tens of millions of dollars.

    Luckily for Ms. Watson-Harris, the QBE only counts student FTE twice a year — once in October and again in March. If she can get our enrollment back up by March then DCSD might only lose a few million (instead of tens of millions) in state funding.

    That seems to be her plan: get all the grades fully back into F2F by February 1, then use the rest of February to find the students who are not logging in and drag them back into F2F classes. I’m sure that resource officers will be doing a lot of home visits then.

    There is just one problem with her plan: employees are seeing that DCSD is willing to risk employee lives in order to keep the $$$$ rolling in. Many of our teachers and other staff are by saying “F— that, I’m outta here, here’s my ADA paperwork/resignation letter/retirement papers.”

  14. I'm just saying.

    2824 American lives lost to Covid-19 yesterday. This makes Covid-19 the daily leading cause of death in the US. But I’m sure your child’s reading level is their relatives primary concern. I’m just saying.

  15. @dissent isn’t denial, et.al,

    Please stop using black and brown children as reasons for reopening schools. F2F learning has and continues to fail these kids. So if you want to have a conversation, let’s start by acknowledging that fact and fix the system that has resulted in black and brown receiving an inferior education for years. So stop acting like you are so concerned about them falling behind during VL. And STOP using them as your pawn. It’s insincere and calculating

    This article sums up my thoughts beautifully. https://blackandsmart.wordpress.com/2020/12/22/stop-using-black-children-as-an-excuse-to-open-your-schools/

  16. @StopAlready: Thank you for saying that. It is the truth and people need to hear it.

  17. TRUTH from the article:

    But, in truth the parents clamoring the most about opening schools are the parents of the most privileged children. They are concerned that their children’s resumes are being tarnished by missing all of this school. They are comparing their children’s progress with that of their private school peers who they perceive to be moving ahead of them. They are concerned that their kids’ inability to participate in varsity sports and athletics may be hurting their scholarship chances. They are recognizing that having their kids at home and having to plan for each and every hour of their school day or perhaps having to sit beside them and assist with their virtual learning does not help one climb the corporate ladder. Actually, none of these reasons for wanting schools to be opened is a bad one. Just say that’s why you want schools to open!

    Don’t pretend you have some deep conviction to the education of Black children. If that’s your motivation, where was it last year when school was in session? Weren’t Black children struggling then? Weren’t they over identified for special education placement? Weren’t they more likely to be suspended and expelled? Weren’t they least likely to be placed in honors or Advanced Placement courses? Weren’t their high school graduation rates lower than other students? The rush to open schools “for Black children” is disingenuous and merely a way to cover up the desires of the more privileged students.

  18. Henri de Vastey

    Some perspective beyond the pound? The article speaks of Saint Thomas the Apostle College.

    Let’s look it up: ( https://www.stac.uk.com/)

    Let’s understand how these “public schools” are funded and operated?

    Let’s consider that Saint Thomas the Apostle College was a “voluntary aided school” which means it is 90% funded by the government, 10% funded by a foundation-like entity, and decides its own admission criteria?

    Let’s marvel that Saint Thomas the Apostle College was the 11th best school in the country and 3rd best in England? (https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/news/st-thomas-the-apostle-is-11th-best-school-in-the-country-according-to-fairer-schools-index/).

    And since everyone is manifesting genuine concern for ESOL, or economically challenged students, it so happens that you may have stumbled on a model school for these very students: Saint Thomas the Apostle College in the borough of Peckham (50.4% black with sizeable communities of immigrants from the Caribbean, Ghana, China, Nigeria, and more).

    People who are quoting European opening model in news articles and studies must carefully read and understand the entire article from which they lift selected segments. Let’s read further in the article:

    “…It was FREEZING : Doors were PROPPED OPEN open for ventilation. Pupils chattered in the playground while wearing face coverings emblazoned with the school logo…”

    “…Serge Cefai, the executive head teacher at St. Thomas, looked puzzled when I asked whether the unions had given him trouble. Not at all. “We told [staff] we’re going to follow GUIDELINES and we do … We’ve spent a huge amount of MONEY trying to make sure that staff FEEL safe when they come into school….”

    “…The American death toll will rightly be cited as the main indictment of the U.S. government’s handling of the pandemic. But what has happened in schools is an astonishing public-policy failure of its own…”

    This Atlantic article did not fully address that European countries typically keep schools open while imposing scientifically recommended lockdowns giving the school the low community spread to operate safely. It’s difficult for students to bring the virus to teachers and difficult for teachers to bring the virus to students if COVID-19 is not raging in the community.

  19. How did she contract COVID-19? The school district said that the CDC is saying that in school is safer than the conditions that many are subjected to outside of school.

  20. His name was Patrick Key, and it doesn’t matter where he got it. If he didn’t get it at the school, he took it to the school before he knew he had it. Cobb went virtual right before the break, because of increasing cases.

  21. Like where? They said not to even visit your relatives for Christmas/ New Year’s. Are you saying school is safer than a family gathering?

  22. I think the administration is saying they can protect some children better than they are being protected now.

  23. No gatherings are safe right now, including school gatherings. School is not safe because people from different families are together in small spaces. CDC is lying about school being safe.

  24. I suspect the CDC is saying that some kids are safer at school. I haven’t seen the statement from the CDC or the research they might be using to make such a statement.

  25. @ Stan Jester

    I think , I suspect, Why don’t you read.


    Trump admin, watered down, suggestions, considerations, more tryhards… CDC has no credibility left.

    Glad your out with your devils advocate, and Socratic questions, bumbling about every issue.

    Your just the messenger, Don’t shoot the messenger? Why not?

    What to do, uncharted territory, no guide book?

    I think , I suspect, Why don’t you read.


    11.2020 UPDATED





    Easily 2 years away from back to normal.

    Everything else, platitudes, best intentions? Tell it to the dead, and dying.

  26. The board has no say in operations.

  27. I read recently that the whole point of opening schools is for children to have herd immunity. Anyone else hear about it? My suspicions is that is exactly why so many politicians are pushing the opening of schools. Biden said he wants all schools open in January. They’ve already said no immunization shots for children because they don’t know the side effects. So parents, the government is treating your children like guinea pigs. How do you feel about that?

  28. I can understand everyone’s frustration with the about face from the Superintendent with regard to face to face instruction. .based on the standard in place since July, I was not expecting face to face instruction before next August.

    For those clamoring for Board members to publicly rebuke the Superintendent I suggest that this is not their role. This should be a private conversation between the Board and the Superintendent. The Board has one employee and that is the Superintendent. To publicly rebuke her would destroy her ability to lead. You might as well terminate her and pay out the remaining years on her contract.

  29. @ Ben Greenwald,

    So now apologists for Superintendent Watson-Harris scurry out with their pathetic musings.

    Superintendent Watson-Harris has already destroyed her ability to lead, which is a quality that she lacked from the git-go. Let us count the ways.

    1. Rode in from the North and immediately lied about the furlough days. “Staff reduction” and “furlough,” while different in spelling and definition, do not differ in effect: I lose pay for 5 days. She lied — if not out right, then semantically.

    2. Apparently disregarded the hiring freeze and when confronted about the disregard blabbered on about a 25% exception loophole, a loophole BOE members apparently knew nothing about. I base that on the loud complaints voiced at a recent BOE meeting.

    3. Violated her own pronouncement of transparency by changing the metric for reopening schools without telling anyone until done and after telling anyone failing to be transparent enough to explain how the new metric (I laugh while typing the word) will be used.

    3 strikes and you’re out, baby.

    NOW it is being rumored that the Grand Watson-Harris has decided to “allow” staff to choose to “telework” the 1st 2 weeks of January. This supposedly was pronounced Monday for dissemination after Christmas. Why the wait? Principals are supposed to send out the info. Why doesn’t Grand Watson-Harris send out one of her cheerleader emails? If this wonderful, grace-filled gesture of 2 weeks reprieve from staff members contracting COVID at their worksites is so wonderful and grace-filled, why is she punting to local school administrators (principals)?

    Superintendent Watson-Harris lost her ability (whatever small amount that did exist) to lead early on, and her incredibly BAD handling of instruction during a pandemic has eliminated whatever shred still existed. I do not see how she can ever win back the trust of DeKalb Schools teachers and school-based staff members — unless, of course, she pushes through a hefty double-digit raise for school-based employees, which I really don’t think is going to happen.

    Bag of switches? Lump of coal? Casket?

    I state again that I believe the BOE could terminate Grand Watson-Harris for cause and pay her nothing.

  30. Stan, can we get an answer from CWH about this:

    A real plan | December 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM |

    Stan, as a parent & teacher, this is the kid of detailed info I’d like and expected to see from the district.
    I’d also like actual details about how well HVAC systems are functioning. Numbers, not descriptors or adjectives. Region 1 still has terrible HVAC, and addressing this is key to mitigation.


  31. Hey Mike. What’s the question? Can you give me an example of the kind of answer you’re looking for to rate the functionality of HVAC systems.

  32. Wow- the comment from heading to dprk above with 15 likes is an excellent example of what the f2f people believe, how little they value those who have died of this, and how not seriously this is taken.

    How do we expect things to be safe with people like that around?

  33. Hi Stan,

    For example, I read a Harvard study that recommends a full 5-6 air changes per hour (ACH) to prevent COVID spread. According to them, a “good” rate is 3 ACH, the average school class gets about 1.5 ACH, and they estimated a poorly ventilated school to get 1 ACH.

    What are our Region 1 classrooms getting in terms of ACH? Is it different in the older schools (Vanderlyn, Chesnut, Kingsley, Hightower) vs newer (DHS, PCMS, DES, Austin)? What should teachers and parents do if the ACH rate for their school or class is poor?

  34. Hey Mike. Interesting. I’ve never heard of anybody rating their HVAC systems by air changes per hour. That seems like a reasonable rating.

  35. @Humpty Dance my point was not in support of the Superintendent. What I was trying to say was that any Superintendent has to have the full public support of their Board. Criticism needs to be in private. When the Board can no longer support their Superintendent then the Superintendent needs to go.

    This is a common courtesy any employer should have for their employer.

  36. @ Ben Greenwald,

    Despite Death’s very present face amidst this pandemic, Watson-Harris has with very little input from her “stakeholders” (other than the North DeKalb-types ranting about F2F) written death warrants for some fraction of her staff. That in itself is more than enough for BOE members to have no support of her. Her selection was not unanimous, and at recent BOE meetings more than half the members have spoken against certain actions of hers (hiring during a hiring freeze and then telling lies about the hiring). As I understand it, her choice for the person in charge of facilities (after demoting Maloof) did the following upon his arrival: Have his office painted twice (the second time in orange) and had new furniture brought in. I have seen nothing from him concerning the schools’ readiness to combat COVID infections for those of us unfortunate to have to return to “work” in schoolhouses that have been neglected for decades. Why the neglect? Because the monies have magically disappeared into the giant hole at the County Office (also known as the deep pockets of former administrators). The schoolhouses are unsanitary 24/7 during the best of times. Now during a pandemic, it is laughable indeed for anyone to assert that it is safe to go into those buildings and be protected by wearing a mask when the students don’t have to and when the students cannot be disciplined for anything health-related — spitting on someone, coughing without covering the mouth just to do it to be disruptive, not washing hands, not flushing toilets, leaving used tissues on and under desks, etc.

    You get the idea.

    But to your point, the support for Harris-Watson has not been unanimous since she was hired, so by your logic, Harris-Watson should go. I support that.

  37. DSW2Contributor

    @Stan Jester – “How did [the Cobb teachers] contract COVID-19?”

    They caught it at school.

    On December 19, the AJC reported that the Cobb County School Distrct had 1,570 *confirmed* Covid cases:

    Those 1,570 confirmed cases and Occam’s razor tell me that the Cobb teachers caught it at school. “F2F Now” proponents cannot disprove my assertion because the CDC and GA Dept of Health gave up on contact tracing months ago!

  38. DSW2Contributor

    @Mike: A question for you — how many air changes per hour (ACH) does a trailer get?

  39. Hello @DSW2Contributor. Understood. But … It’s hard to say if they got it from school or not.

  40. @ DSW2Contributor – good question. This should be answered by facilities management as well before staff or students return.

  41. Teachers Are Contracting COVID at School

    It’s a little ridiculous for people to say that it’s hard to determine if a teacher caught the virus at school. Let’s see…a teacher who’s managed to stay virus-free for almost a year, suddenly contracts the virus when they’re forced back into teaching in-person. Any reasonable person could conclude that the teacher contracted the virus at school, especially if the school has other cases and has to shut down. Stan, I get that you want your kids in school, but don’t insult our intelligence by playing these games. These teachers ARE getting the virus at schools. People like you who are playing these “Well…are we REALLY sure???” games are making it very easy for these districts to punt their responsibilities of keeping staff safe. Also, saying that the district is following CDC guidelines isn’t helpful in any way. Anyone who watches the news knows that the CDC has been compromised, and that the Trump administration forced them to release guidelines that would favor reopening. These are documented facts. Nothing the CDC produces can be trusted until a new administration takes over, because the outgoing administration’s main goal was to let the virus spread.

  42. I'm just saying.

    1129 American lives lost to Covid-19 yesterday. I’m just saying.

  43. Another calculator (This time from MIT) asking for ACH and recirculation rate of HVAC, again needing real numbers from facilities management rather than adjectives.


  44. waitingforgodot

    The school district has given people a series of announcements with conflicting information, allowing people to draw their own conclusions or to make claims that may not be true for the entire district.

    On December 16, the district sent a letter to parents that implied in-person school will happen no matter what.

    On December 16, the district also published an announcement that implies positivity rates and the ability to implement mitigation strategies may impact in-person school.

    On December 16, another board member posted information to their facebook page that says staff will see signage and room layouts when they return to school buildings. Someone else posted a message to the same facebook page saying that it will be manageable with 8 students in class rooms in the beginning.

    Can anyone confirm that pre-arranged signage, room layout, and 8-student class schedule in their school buildings?

  45. They’re obviously making it up as they go along

  46. DeKalb Teacher

    @waitingforgodot – no signage, no room layout, and we’ve been told 16 kids per class for January, up to 36 for a regular class starting in February. The cohorts from the original plan are not the same as the cohorts in the new plan.

    Also hearing unofficially that 60-80% of students in Dunwoody schools plan to return, so that will effectively mean an AVERAGE class size of 22-29. No room for social distancing.

  47. “Despite warnings by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to postpone travel and stay home, more than 7.1 million people were screened at TSA checkpoints over the last week, according to the agency’s numbers. “


  48. One thing to consider is that there will likely be a wide range in numbers of students in each classroom. For example, my child’s school had 130 4th graders registered as of October. Assuming 6 classes that works out to 21 to 22 students per class. If 50% of the 4th graders indicate a desire to return we could assume that each class would have 10 to 11 students for a total of 65 students for face to face instruction.

    What might very well happen is that there may be a lot of students in one class that return and few in another. For example we might have face to face numbers that look something like this:

    Class 1 4
    Class 2 6
    Class 3 8
    Class 4 12
    Class 5 16
    Class 6 19
    Total 65

    If something like this happens, will DCSD balance the face to face student populations? The same thing will likely happen grade to grade and school to school. For example in one community there is the possibility that one school may see 25% of their students return for face to face and another school may see 75% of their students return.

    The takeaway is that relying on average responses tells us very little about how many students will end up returning to face to face in a specific classroom.

  49. You can't prove

    @Teachers are contracting and others who think they KNOW that teachers got Covid at school:

    You don’t know that. You CAN’T know that. It’s pretty simple really. Even if someone was safe for 9 months then went back to school and caught it, that does NOT mean that they caught it at school (however, it also does not mean they DIDN’T catch it at school). It simply means that they were exposed to Covid and were unlucky enough to get it. Could have been at the school, at the grocery store, at church, wherever.

    Researchers who look at the numbers found school teachers and students have shown lower cases given the amount of time they were together versus other gatherings of people that were together for similar time periods. So they can state that it’s safer.

    Even if you had perfect contact tracing, you still couldn’t prove someone got it in a school setting because there are large percentages of people who show no symptoms and wouldn’t be traced. I guess if we all were giving blood once a week or so and they had the time and energy to look into it for specific markers, then you could say person x got it from this source.

    You can BELIEVE all you want that the school caused a person’s covid. But you can’t prove it.

  50. Teachers Are Contracting COVID at School

    “You can’t prove”….And you can’t prove that these teachers DIDN’T catch it at school. However, barring any drastic changes in the teachers’ behaviors, one could easily conclude that SCHOOL is where they contracted it. Like I said, there are schools with multiple teachers contracting the virus for the first time. Others have noted that many teachers on the same grade level, or in the same departments, have contracted the virus at the same time. To turn your blinders on and pretend that the spread at schools isn’t happening just so YOU don’t feel like a crappy human being for sending school personnel into a dangerous situation is irresponsible. I’m sure that if teachers at your kids’ schools catch COVID, you’ll make yourself feel better by pretending that they didn’t catch it as a result of you and others screaming about schools needing to reopen. However, if restaurants, grocery stores, family gatherings, etc. are dangerous, it is extremely unreasonable and stupid to pretend like people can’t catch COVID in a cramped and poorly ventilated old building. Especially when the occupants of that building don’t even know how to properly wash their hands or cough/sneeze with their mouths covered.

  51. @ You can’t prove,


    It’s like pulling off the petals of a daisy and saying “she loves me, she loves me not.”

    NO, love has nothing to do with your post.

    It’s like rubbing the underside of someone’s chin with a dandelion to see if they like butter.

    NO, that only works with the North DeKalb-types whose chins could turn yellow. We’re not talking about bright colors here, only dark ones associated with DEATH.

    It’s like a bride tossing her bouquet and whoever catches it will be the next to get married.

    YES, that’s more like it, except the bouquet is not of flowers but of weeds and thorny vines and what the person catches will be a deadly disease, not a lifetime companion. Well, I guess Death could be considered a lifetime companion since being wed to Death is a forever thing.

    YES, that’s what it’s like.

    Go to school, teachers, and catch Death’s bouquet. Just to let you know, it’s a bouquet of lilies and will look fabulous for a short while adorning your coffins and gravesites. Perhaps your loved ones could plant them and have them grow back year after year to remind them of you.

    NO, planting lilies won’t work. They’ve been CUT and are in their death throes when you receive them, but you won’t know you received them. Why? Because the North DeKalb-types and Superintendent Watson-Harris and her County Office and BOE enablers have permitted her to sign your death certificates prior to your deaths.

    Oh, well, surviving science teachers can use this as a lesson in their hybrid classes about the biological processes involved in life and death.

    Surviving English teachers can use this for writing prompts (compose obituaries for dead teachers).

    Surviving social studies teachers can use this as a lesson in their hybrid classes as supplemental material for other famous plagues (bubonic comes to mind).

    Surviving math teachers can use this as a lesson in their hybrid classes when teaching computation (add up the numbers of teachers who died and then subtract that number from the number who survived).

    Surviving art teachers can use this as a lesson in their hybrid classes when having students draw (tombstones for favorite teachers who have passed away because they were forced back into the schoolhouses at the height of flu and COVID transmission).

    Surviving world languages teachers can use this as a lesson in their hybrid classes by having students write epitaphs (phrases on tombstones) for dead teachers they did have or could have had.

    Stacey Stepney and her Instruction clones will have SO much curricular material to use once Death begins Its cold embrace of DeKalb’s teachers.

    BUT, you can’t prove …


  52. DSW2Contributor

    I found some proof on Emily Oster’s “National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard” — Covid Case Rates for School Staff are *much* *higher* than the Community Case Rates in Texas & NY school districts with in-person only and hybrid learning:


    Scroll down to the graphs under the “Trends: States with Consistent Reopening” and you’ll see that the three graphs where the green (Case Rate in Staff) line is way above the gray (Community Case Rate) and blue (Case Rate in Students) lines.

    Professor Oster’s work is funded by the anti-union Walton Family Foundation.

  53. This seems to have gotten lost in all the messages, just curious on this so posting again:

    I’m curious does this law just go out the window? It states one day a week it can go out the window but outside of that what is the plan?
    We are required to eat with our students but this has yet to be brought up so would love to know – only real response we have had is we will have planning and that should not be our lunch break at 7:50 am or 9:45 am or whenever that time may be. I completely understand not wanting to have students eat in the cafeteria and I understand that there is not really another option in this case, BUT this should have been figured out by the county already since they’ve had months. Principals are limited in what they can do because they have points and those points do not cover lunch duty coverage so the county should definitely figure this one out and I challenge them not to pull EIP, ESOL, or SPED teachers to cover.

    Thanks for any info you can provide.

    2010 Georgia Code
    § 20-2-218 – Duty-free lunch period; exchange of lunch period for compensation or other benefit; length of school day not affected; exemption for extenuating circumstances; funding
    O.C.G.A. 20-2-218 (2010)
    20-2-218. Duty-free lunch period; exchange of lunch period for compensation or other benefit; length of school day not affected; exemption for extenuating circumstances; funding

    (a) Every teacher who is employed in grades kindergarten through five for a period of time of more than one-half of the class periods of the regular school day shall be provided a daily lunch period of not less than 30 consecutive minutes, and such employee shall not be assigned any responsibilities during this lunch period. Such lunch period shall be included in the number of hours worked, and no local board of education shall increase the number of hours to be worked by an employee as a result of such employee’s being granted a lunch period under the provisions of this Code section. This duty-free lunch period shall not be calculated under any circumstances as a part of any daily planning period or other noninstructional time.

    (b) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prevent any teacher from exchanging that teacher’s lunch period for any compensation or benefit mutually agreed upon by the employee and the local superintendent of schools or such superintendent’s agent, except that a teacher and the superintendent or agent may not agree to terms which are different from those available to any other teacher granted rights under this Code section within the individual school or to terms which in any way discriminate among such teachers within the individual school.

    (c) The implementation of this Code section may not result in a lengthened school day.

    (d) If necessary where due to extreme economic conditions or an unforeseen and unavoidable personnel shortage, a local unit of administration may require a teacher otherwise entitled to a duty-free lunch period to supervise students during such lunch period but for no more than one day in any school week.

    (e) Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this Code section to the contrary, nothing in this Code section shall require the General Assembly to appropriate funds for the implementation of the duty-free lunch program; provided, however, that any such funds appropriated for this purpose shall be used by local school systems for duty-free lunch periods for classroom teachers in grades kindergarten through five.

  54. @ Dissent isn’t Denial,

    Here’s a poem for you. Perhaps you’ve read the original by Donne. I call mine “F2F with Death”.

    Death be not proud, though Watson-Harris is
    Mighty and dreadful in her superintendency;
    For those whom she thinkst have little worth
    Will die, poor Teachers, but Death and she will live,
    Cheerleading from room to room, school to school.
    Thy picture, Death, will pleasure the North-
    DeKalb types as their children learn F2F
    And rest their bones, and their minds’ delivery,
    On the corpses of their teachers who were
    Spirited away at the behest of Death’s cold hand-
    Maiden from the North, Super Watson-Harris,
    COVID’s mistress, executiontrix for QBE –
    Numbers to fill the coffers for State monies,
    Bodies to fill the caskets, some teachers’ classrooms.

  55. Question,

    We’ve already been told that our lunch breaks will be spent watching the kids because they won’t be eating in the cafeteria. We asked about the duty-free lunch clause and we were basically told that we’d just have to suck it up and make it work. Look on the bright side: If we don’t die from Covid, we’ll be alive to sue DeKalb for every penny Watson-Harris thinks she’s saving by caving to the Dunwoody parents. So, there’s that little bit of silver lining.

  56. I'm just saying.

    1645 American lives were lost to Covid-19 yesterday. 1 in every 1000 American has died to Covid-19. Georgia’s positivity rate yesterday was 14.9%. I’m just saying.

  57. @ @question

    Thank you! I appreciate the response!

  58. So while Dekalb furloughed (or calendar reduced days) us, Gwinnett gave their employees bonuses. It’s not only the whole going back to the buildings fiasco, it’s the all around disrespect towards their employees that is making it a not so difficult decision to not go back next year to work at DCSC.


  59. Seriously? LUNCH is a really big deal?

  60. @ Alison Mercer,

    Yes, lunch IS a really big deal.

    It’s all about rights and the slippery slope. Once this right to a duty-free lunch goes away, it does not necessarily return.

    Look at DeKalb’s record on this. I’ll give one example: the annuity in lieu of Social Security. Back in the day before I was hired in DeKalb, the teachers voted to opt out of Social Security in favor of a tax-deferred annuity. Surely you’ve heard about THAT in the news and on this blog. The corrupt (well, THAT corrupt) BOE used the economic downturn at the end of Bush II and the beginning of Obama presidencies to stop paying into the annuity. That has FINALLY reached its nadir with the Gold settlement, a win-win for the school system. Note that the furlough (ooops, staff reduction) days this year occurred so that the money for the first installment of the Gold settlement would come from those who were recipients of its pay-out. We pay back the money we were given. Got it?

    ANYWAY, as regards your question, please note that once the corrupt BOE (well, THAT corrupt BOE) took away the annuity, they did not start up paying Social Security, and now that the Gold lawsuit is over, the annuity in lieu of Social Security is not being paid. (Social Security is not being paid either except on the checks sent out in the Gold settlement. Go figure.)

    I wish someone would explain to me how DeKalb Schools gets away with not paying ANYTHING in terms of Social Security or an annuity as its replacement. It is just SO WRONG on SO MANY levels.

    But the crooks (oops, administrators) at the top of DeKalb Schools do not care. They get theirs. Watson-Harris is paid for a PHD that she does not have. All those happily promoted Interims are getting theirs. The thousands of non-teachers at the County Office have gotten theirs since March for doing NOTHING while teachers slaved over hot computers teleworking.

    The point is, once a right is taken away, it does not typically return. THUS, lunch is a REALLY big deal.


  61. Safety concerns


    When I found out about the calendar reduction days, I felt fine with it because at least we were being kept safe. I didn’t mind losing the income (even with a spouse that can’t work during COVID), because it was better than getting sick or dying. I was proud of my district.

    Now it seems, with the timing and lack of guidance, that DCSD just couldn’t staff the schools earlier. Now that the CARES Act is expiring, they don’t have to worry about teachers utilizing the leave provision or covering our sick leave during quarantine. Do we even know if COVID exposure or a positive test will require quarantine? I’m sure there might be loads of adults who don’t have the sick time to take off 10 days and will show up in the building anyway.

    DCSD’s lack of a plan should concern all taxpayers, since this could fall into the “gross negligence” that the state’s liability protection law does not protect them from.

    One last thing- has the Superintendent even contacted the Georgia Health Department about when teachers will get vaccines? I have a friend in another state who is in the 1B group who is getting her vaccination today.

  62. @kind.educator,
    DCSD can’t even think about giving bonuses because back in the day they cheated their employees of TSA contributions. The lawsuit settlement requires DCSD to pay $27 Million this year.

    That means $27 Million of our tax dollars that cannot be used to compensate current teachers and staff for Covid sacrifices or repair/upgrade HVAC systems to the level recommended to mitigate airborne Covid spread.

    As I understand it, DCSD will be required to pay $22 Million for the next 4 years per the lawsuit settlement. That means that DCSD teachers and students will be at a significant disadvantage because a prior BOE openly defied their own policy and stopped TSA contributions without the required 2 years’ notice.

    Yet none of those BOE members who approved that action or the Superintendent who recommended that action face any consequences.

    Someone has GOT to come in and clean up DCSD.

    And to those who want to get rid of Cheryl Watson-Harris — do you think DCSD could get anyone better? If she leaves, who among the current DCSD big-buck employees could step up and do a better job?

    Remember, this is a District that can’t even hire a qualified Chief Human Resources Officer, and instead relies upon a former Principal who may mean well but who cannot possibly understand the details about ADA accommodation law and has no experience with managing the layoffs that are bound to come with the 5,000 drop in enrollment. This is another possible lawsuit waiting to happen unless DCSD knows and follows the law.

    It will take decades to fix DCSD, and even that is doubtful.

    DCSD should be the subject of a case study in Law and Education schools, about what NOT to do and about the long-term consequences that fall upon the innocent, while the perpetrators feel no consequences at all.

    And @Alison Mercer, yes, LUNCH is a big deal. Sitting in a classroom full of non-mask-wearing children for 30 minutes while they eat their lunch is SO contrary to any CDC guidance. Yet teachers are supposed to just accept it.

  63. @Alison Mercer

    Actually, yes, lunch is a big deal. If you’re not a full-time elementary teacher, then you wouldn’t understand, but essentially this is the ONLY break most teachers get ALL DAY and a lot is done in that 30 minutes that has NOTHING to do with eating. Pre-pandemic, I would eat, use the restroom (for the one and only time that day), make copies, check my emails, prepare for the next lesson, and do anything else that needed to be done during my 30 minute duty-free break, so someone making light of it is very frustrating. Also, maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal if we actually got to take advantage of our planning period, but many of us don’t. At my school, my schedule states that I get a daily planning period for 45 minutes while my students attend specials, but 3 of 5 days a week, that “planning period” is dedicated to pointless, time-consuming meetings. It really should be called “PLC/PD meeting time” because that’s exactly what it is dedicated to. So essentially, teachers who have to deal with this would get NO BREAK at all through an entire 8 hour shift, and I doubt that our schedule will be adjusted to allow us to leave work 30 minutes earlier to compensate for the lack of a lawful break.

    Can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally look forward to eating alone in my classroom daily in the dark to relax and decompress in silence. It helps me get through the day sane. Now, it’s yet another thing on the babysitting to-do list for teachers. I have come to accept more and more that teaching/school has NOTHING to do with education and EVERYTHING to do with supervising kids until they can be returned to their parents after their work shifts have ended. Personally, I didn’t go to college to be a babysitter, and I’m sick of it, which is why I’m trying so diligently to get out. I wanted to help kids, and I’m starting to feel like nothing we are required to do as educators actually does that, so what’s the point?

  64. Wow. You all are really getting yourselves worked up into a frenzy about “Lunch”. Petty! Imagine all the disadvantaged children who aren’t having ANY Lunch right now, and chill the hell out before you have a Stroke!

  65. @ Alison Mercer

    It’s not just “lunch,” it’s the law.

  66. Pregnant Teacher

    @Alison Mercer

    As a Pregnant teacher my lunch is the first time (and often only time) I can go to the bathroom from 7-4. It is a big deal.

    Also, DCSD is providing lunch in many locations to students, as are many charitable organizations. Instead of attacking people who sacrifice for children, maybe you can put your (apparently large amount of) free time into helping get more assistance for those in need you purportedly care about?

  67. How many of you pushing back about schools reopening, and your immense fear of COVID, had holiday gatherings of some sort for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas?? My guess is that a good number of people on this site did. Those would be the hypocrites. You have one week left to select your outfits to return to school. If you don’t wish to do your jobs, and SERVE our suffering children, then just resign already! Being a Teacher is for those with a heart of Service. If you only want to “Receive”, then get out. You will Not do well in the private sector, so be prepared for a shock and no paycheck or benefits worth talking about. He**, most of you hide behind stupid fake names on this site! What in the world are you afraid of?? (rhetorical question, if you know what that means)

  68. @Pregnant Teacher:
    I don’t have a “large amount of free time”, as you very wrongly assumed. I continue to do Many things to serve the needs of others. Where’s Your list?

  69. Alison, shut up already. I’m so tired of your sanctimonious ranting. In the spirit of SERVICE why don’t YOU volunteer to sit in classrooms during lunch so teachers can get crap done?! What I’ve used my lunch breaks for: pumping breast milk, making doctor appointments, grading papers, tracking down administrators, walking outside to get some damn fresh air and sunlight, sitting still with the lights out and door locked to enjoy some q u i e t, emailing my kid’s teachers, etc. I’m sure other teachers can add to this list.

  70. You spelled my name wrong.

  71. DSW2Contributor

    That’s the correct spelling.

  72. If you really want to go there, ok, here we go. Commas go inside quotation marks. Sentences should end with some sort of punctuation mark. You’re not Emily Dickinson; stop with the gratuitous capitalization. Fix your own writing before coming after mine.

  73. Holier than thou

    What kind of person would want another human to forgo lunch, a bathroom break, etc?

  74. @Alison Mercer, and exactly how are you helping those disadvantaged kids who are not getting lunch? Stop using the same kids that you wouldn’t even consider sending your children to school with as your sounding board as to why schools should remain open. You don’t care about them. It just sounds good.

    EVERY employer is required to allow their employees a break. The state requires that Elementary teachers have a duty-free lunch.. You’re petty for thinking it’s ok for teachers to have kids in their faces while they are trying to eat lunch. Are you required to eat with others during your lunch break or are you sitting in the house twiddling your fingers while yours kids are at school. Stop being condescending and devaluing the work that teachers do to provide your kids with an education and allow parents the 8 hours they need to complete their daily tasks (i.e. work, sleep, shopping, Lunch dates, etc.).

  75. @Alison Mercer

    Alison Mercer,
    If you want to serve children so badly, go back to school and get your teaching certification. People have suggested it and you give excuses for why you can’t do it. Put up or shut up. Until then, don’t tell the people who actually put in the time and WORK to do this job how we should feel about it and what we should fight for. By the way, I haven’t seen my family (including my eldest child) in almost a year due to taking safety precautions. So, you’re absolutely correct that I’m going to demand my lunchtime after a year’s worth of taking precautions is thrown out the window because parents want me to put their children above my life and health. Please. Teaching is my last priority right now. If they want a babysitter, that is exactly what they’re going to get. My only goal is to keep myself healthy and safe so that I’m alive to see ALL of my children next year.

  76. Ouch! Didn’t mean to make it a problem, I struggle with them being to ignore the law and no one cares. I understand if it doesn’t cause any situation in your life then it must not be real or important. I do hope it shares some insight into the planning that went into reopening schools.

  77. Everyone here is right. I was in the wrong. I’m sorry. Please stay safe.

  78. DSW2Contributor

    Here is a comparison of what Ms. Watson-Harris promised the community during the December 14 Town Hall to the latest Department of Health data:
    “But at a Dec. 14 town hall meeting, Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris said the district is planning to allow staff to return to school when there is a 10% positivity rate for two weeks. ”
    The latest data (12/27/2020, 2:50:09 PM) from the GA Department of Health:

    Dekalb County, % PCR Tests Positive: 14.1
    Dekalb County, 7-Day Moving Average: 10.5

    Statewide, % PCR Tests Positive: 18.1
    Statewide, 7-Day Moving Average: 14.7

    So first thing tomorrow morning (Monday, December 28) I expect that Ms. Watson-Harris will:

    (1) Announce that Phases I, II and III of the return are all delayed. [Today’s positivity rate is above 10%, so per her December 14 promise to the community, the earliest that Ms. Watson-Harris might allow staff into buildings is January 11, two weeks from tomorrow.]

    (2) Change the January 4 & 5 Asynchronous Learning days back to full virtual instruction days. [There is no reason for those days to be Asynchronous now that staff cannot be in the buildings those days, getting classrooms ready.]

    (3) Cancel the Professional Development Institute (Jan 15) so that Jan 14 & 15 could be used by teachers to return to their buildings and setup their classrooms [in case the positivity rate drops below 10% by January 1.]

    Mrs. Watson-Harris will do all three of these things tomorrow morning because she is an honest leader who communicates in a timely manner, means what she says and does what she says she is going to do!

  79. Educated Educator

    And we shall see… mark your words.

  80. @Alison Mercer

    Well, if not having a lunch break is no big deal, please volunteer to come in daily to cover a teacher’s class so that he or she can have the break they deserve. Bring your friends along too. It’s the least you could do.

  81. It is against the FLSA to perform non-exempt work without being paid. I wouldn’t want to break the law by “volunteering” for lunch coverage.

    Good luck to all teachers trying to find a Sub when you want a day off in the future. They are largely gone. Thank DCSD for that as well.

    I hope that when the children return to the classroom, they can’t see or feel the bitterness or resentment of some teachers who have expressed it so much on this website. They don’t deserve that. Do the right thing, whatever that means for you. God Bless.

  82. @Alison

    Your empty threats mean nothing to those of us that do make an effort to finding a sub only to get screwed over anyways. Even if you secured a sub for your class, it doesn’t mean that sub will be utilized in your class. I don’t know how many times I or another colleague has had a sub pulled to go to another grade level. And you want to know what happens to that class? They split those students up among the other classrooms on that grade level. Have you ever had to have an extra 6 students in your classroom, get observed by district cronies that same day, and them Mark you down because you didn’t have the correct number of materials because you planned for 26 students and not 32 in a trailer? Yeah I didn’t think so, but I have. So after being repeatedly screwed over time and time again, I refuse to put any significant time and energy into finding subs. I don’t need permission to take a sick day and we’ve proven time and time again that substitute teachers are expendable. I’m not saying it’s ideal, but we make it work.
    I get your heart is in the right place in terms of advocating for the students and wanting the best for them. Have you ever considered that maybe taking care of the teachers would be in the best interest of the students? You do realize being a substitute teacher doesn’t necessarily give you a full scope into the ins and outs of teaching. Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a substitute teacher and that experience gave me maybe 10% of the insight learned as to what teachers do or deal with on a daily basis. With that said, do us all a favor and please stop talking about matters you obviously know nothing about. If you want meaningful outcomes for students, you need to start with supporting the teachers first and stop with your snide comments about your hopes when we return into the classroom. Your opposition for teachers receiving their duty free lunch is appalling. Would you like it if schools made students have working lunches or working recess time everyday? That’s about the equivalent. If you’re okay with teachers not getting their duty free lunch or not even being given time to pee, then surely you’re okay with this. Might as well teach them young that their mental health doesn’t really matter or just getting them ready for the real world where they will be micromanaged and expected to work like a machines despite anything going on in their life. Is this the standard we’re striving for Alison? Do us all a favor: Work during your lunch, don’t use the bathroom for 8 hours, and give us tips on how to hide our bitterness and resentment. The last thing I’d ever want to do is project any negative feelings towards my students.

  83. 12,000 cases in Ga by Mid Feb

    You’re looking at the wrong positivity rate. The one Dekalb is using is found under testing, after you look at the cases per 100,000. Yesterday’s reading was 10.0%. The one under the main heading showing totol cases reporting, etc is not the one they are using, You have to scroll down to the map of the state, find dekalb county, and at the top of that page select, “testing”.Then hover over Dekalb County. I suspect this number will move up back over 10% over the next few days. It doesnt matter what the number is, cheerleader is mandating all return to the Covid experiment, called Dekalb Schools.

  84. @empty threats-that has happened to me soooo many times. And yes, even when I’ve made it very clear that I had students from another class in my room during observations, I still get marked down for them not following the lesson correctly. Teachers call out daily at my school and the teacher I work with never even calls out, she just doesn’t show up. She still has a job, I don’t know how, but she does. She always has some drama story about her children being sick and she “thought” she contacted the school. Oh and I’ve lost my lunch so many times, way more than I’ve gotten lunch. Always some drama going on in the building or last minute task being ordered to do by administration. Teaching is stress, stress, stress. Not worth it.

    I’ve been screwed so many times in this profession. I used to document everything, but the public school system is so extremely mismanaged, there’s no point anymore. Every new teacher who comes to my school says she’s running from a different county just to find out the same thing is going on in Dekalb. That’s why I’m leaving the teaching profession all together. Every county has the same issues. I’m not sure how, but I think there will have to be a complete overhaul of the public school system across the nation. It’s broken beyond repair. I have many happy memories of the sweet children, but the system is horrible. Teachers seem to be happy at the private/Christian schools, but they don’t pay enough to live on. I sure wish they did! I’d be there in a second.

  85. I'm just saying.

    1230 American lives lost to Covid-19 yesterday. I’m just saying.

  86. Stan,
    Perhaps you can forward the URL for your site to Ms. Watson-Harris today. She may be “shielded” from valid teacher concerns by those around her. She needs to see everything here, and then put together diverse teacher work teams to propose solutions that will actually be implemented, and not just “acknowledged”. Who is leading Focus Groups to address the teachers’ concerns with the goal of rapid improvement??

  87. Another observation:

    So, anyone other than me find it interesting that we’re okay with judging and shaming teachers for needing a 30 minute break away from children so that they can eat their lunch in peace, but very few feel the need to offer that same judgment to parents who are literally asking for 7 hours away from their children even if it means putting their health and the health of others in harm’s way? Why is it that we expect TEACHERS to do what PARENTS are not even willing to do for their own children? Yet another reason why I am planning my escape from teaching! I look forward to the days when I too can be a selfish parent who only cares about my own family!

  88. While I don’t agree with the way this was rolled out AT ALL, the lunch thing kind of bugs me. I’ve been working in the private sector for about 20 years and can’t remember the last time I took a lunch break. I eat while I work every single day. In fact, in my last role we had working lunch meetings (we brought our own, not provided by the company) at least 3x a week. Now, I have the great honor of eating lunch while on zoom which I hate and feel embarrassed by most days, but it is what it is.

    I agree that a block of time to eat, make dr appointments or just take a breath sounds great. But it’s not just teachers who don’t have this luxury.

    I think teachers have been dealing with crap for years. I don’t blame a teacher for wanting to pivot their career to something else. HOWEVER, I think you’ll find a lot of similar junk in other professions and organizations…it’s just packaged differently.

  89. Elementary is different

    @igetitbut – notice that a lunch break is only given to elementary school teachers, because the way their job is structured, without it they don’t even have a bathroom break. As a middle school teacher, we are on duty for lunch and that is fine. If the law recognizes the need to give elementary school teachers a duty free lunch, the district must put a solution in place.

  90. waitingforgodot

    12,000 Cases,

    The school district claims to be working with the board of health. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a 10.2% positivity rate for Dekalb County for December 3-16.

    As of December 27, the rate is 10%. Makes sense it’s less than the 10.2% because of holiday closing. New Year’s Day closing will throw off numbers again.

    Scary to look at surrounding counties, where administrators and teachers and staff live and students can work, socialize, and compete. Gwinnett had 17.2% for last two weeks; Rockdale-13.9%; Henry-17.7%; Clayton-15.2%; Cobb-11.5%; Fulton-9.7%. No matter.

    The CDC recognizes that children seem to be at less risk of serious symptoms and complications of Covid (although that evidence is from May and June) , conflicts with later information, and excludes the more transmissible variant shutting down international travel. The CDC is clear that in-person work risk to administrators, teachers, and staff would mirror that of other adults in the community.

  91. If teachers were to put together a very concise bullet-point list of what is “broken”, what would that look like in a face-to-face school environment? The more concise and less wordy, the better. I know I stepped in it about the “lunch” subject, but I do understand the importance of breaks during the day. This must be one of the bullet points with as brief an explanation as possible so that important items like this will be read in their entirety. I don’t think that you are being “heard” in a way that will result in lasting repairs to all that is broken in Dekalb Schools. Stan “hears” you and understands, hence his platform for sharing. Teachers need a proposal, and then you need top-level commitment, including implementation or “repair” dates, and immediate results. Too much is at stake here for Teachers, Students, Parents, and our Future.

  92. waitingforgodot


    I thought your blog was helpful in times past when we didn’t know how much we’d be earning or when we’d be working. Now your blog has proven necessary. Thank You!

    Would you be able to explain the board’s role in creating this plan and the responsibility the board bears for its implementation?

  93. You Don’t Get It


    Teachers have to use the restroom and lunchtime is usually the only time we have to do so. I was pregnant and had to step away from my class to use the restroom. It was urgent, and I’d waited as long as possible. I asked another teacher to listen out for my students, but I had to leave them unattended. Someone from the district happened to be in the building and counted the minutes I was out of my room using the bathroom and reported me to my administrator. So, YES, duty free lunch breaks are important. How often can you say in your regular job that you have to ask someone to watch your desk while you go to the bathroom? Are you ever written up or reported for stepping away from your desk for a 4 minute restroom break?

  94. Administration needs to announce a decision TODAY— either Retreat, or Move Forward despite the (expected) growing COVID numbers. I think people were anticipating “The Plan” for next week to be put on hold. One week (or less) is barely enough time for parents to rearrange their work situations if reopening will not happen next week. Are the school buildings even ready? Are dormant water pipes being thoroughly flushed out daily to prevent bacteria? Air systems being cycled every day? (Formerly) locked/sealed windows have been corrected to open? PPE and Clorox wipes in every classroom now? Where is a weekly Engineering update? People need to know these things to put their minds at ease.

  95. Stan,
    Might you start a new post to address my earlier message today? I think it would be good if Teachers could add to a running, concise, bullet-point list of the “top” things they want to see “fixed”? I would be glad to cmpile responses, type in a nice format, and return to you for distribution/presentation.

  96. Anytime I need to use the bathroom, I lime my kids up and march to the potty. They stand out in the hall in plain sight of the front office. Never get a modicum of guff.

    DeKalb excels at leaving teachers to fend for themselves. The reopening scenario will be no different. Some teachers will buy air purifiers for their rooms with their own money. Some won’t. Some teachers will buy digital thermometers. Some won’t. Some teachers will develop additional mitigation efforts (hand washing in class, extra masks, wipes, etc.). There is a big assumption that teachers will just handle it in silence and anything they do will not be really scrutinized. Principals are terrified of their administration as well as their teachers. So much distrust from parents to teachers, teachers to admin., admin to admin., teacher to teacher. We survive when we stay on our little island of the classroom, smile and nod, click the box on the survey and stay out of the way.


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