DCSD Employees May Continue To Work Remotely For 30 Days

DeKalb Schools Teachers and staff experiencing hardships may notify their immediate supervisors, complete the Hardship Request Application, and continue to work remotely for 30 days. At the end of the 30-day window, the hardship application will be reviewed. Teachers and staff, who are ready to return, may do so on January 4th.

Dr. Michelle Jones, DeKalb Schools Chief Human Resources Officer, sent this message to DeKalb Schools employees last Thursday.

Stan Jester DeKalb Schools

From: Dr. Michelle Jones
DeKalb Schools Interim Chief Human Resources Officer
Subject: DCSD Employees Return to Work Considerations
Date: December 31, 2020

As we begin our phases of re-opening, the Division of Human Resources is here to assist employees with employment-related needs. On January 4, 2021, we are welcoming back all 10, 11, and 12-month employees who were working remotely to return to the work setting. Our goal is to get everyone back to our buildings, to transition to our physical workspace/classrooms, and to prepare for a hybrid learning environment. While leave or accommodations may be granted to employees under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), further considerations for temporary hardship situations have been requested at this time by employees. The District’s goal is to be supportive and understanding of the concerns of our employees during this pandemic, while maintaining the operation of the school district.Please note that the needs of our employees and students are top priorities in the decision-making process; therefore, it is imperative that we are aware of the needs of our team members in order to execute the appropriate plan for alternate work arrangements. In this second phase of employees returning to the building, there are three options beginning January 4th:

• Teachers and staff, who are ready to return, may do so on January 4th.
• Teachers and staff, who have submitted the required documentation to request an ADA accommodation and have been approved, may continue to work remotely.
• Teachers and staff, who have submitted the required documentation to request an ADA accommodation and have not been approved, may continue to work remotely until the Division of Human Resources determines eligibility.
• Teachers and staff experiencing hardships may notify their immediate supervisors, complete the Hardship Request Application, and continue to work remotely for 30 days. At the end of the 30-day window, the hardship application will be reviewed. (Note: The Hardship Request Application must be submitted no later than Friday, January 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. through the following link: https://survey.sogosurvey.com/r/8UPcR4)

Employees may also visit the employee sharepoint portal to access additional resources within the Resources tab of the Division of Human Resources. We are all in this together, and we are here to make your transition back to the work setting as smooth as possible.


Hardship Request Application

Any hardship request will be acknowledged until DCSD announces that students are returning to school. The employee must agree to accept the alternative work assignment assigned by their immediate supervisor and that such assignment is not an adverse employment action under Georgia or federal law.

Employees must also describe the nature of the hardship. Documentation may be submitted to substantiate your request for hardship consideration.

  • Health condition (non- FMLA or ADA)
  • Pending FMLA request
  • Pending ADA request
  • Childcare: School age
  • Childcare: Under school age
  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Other (Please specify)

Noteworthy comment from DSW2Contributor about the most recent Principals Meeting

“[DeKalb Schools Administration] told Principals to approve all hardship requests and to also be ready to open schools for F2F.

TEACHERS and STAFF: my advice continues to be that everyone should fill out a hardship request. Just tell the truth. The “other” option is there for a reason, so use it if you have to — just tell truth. Your reason might be that you have not been provided with (and/or have not been able to purchase for yourself) N-95 masks and other PPE. Your reason might be that you are too fearful to come back before you and other members of your household have been vaccinated. Maybe you do not have transportation because MARTA closed the bus route you use to get to school, or maybe your spouse/partner needs to use your only car because their bus route was closed. Maybe you did report to school, saw how badly prepared your school was, and now you are too stressed out and fearful to go back.

YOU HAVE TO SAVE YOURSELVES!”

371 responses to “DCSD Employees May Continue To Work Remotely For 30 Days

  1. Hey Alison. It’s a free country and I have no intention of shutting down this site.

    34
  2. Calendar or Work

    Stan
    No one can answer my question. Are we talking about 30 work days or calendar days for the hardship application. Someone please answer.

    2
  3. Dekalb Teacher Too

    Calendar or work

    My principal said this morning the 30 days would end on 2/3. I think that came from the regional superintendent.

    4
  4. AJC:
    “In a YouTube message Sunday night, the Hall County superintendent announced that classes starting Tuesday will be remote for all students. School chief Will Schofield cited an “alarming increase” in cases and in the rate of community spread in Hall County over the holiday season and hospitals are under siege.”

    6
  5. Hello @Calendar or Work,
    I think we can assume the administration means calendar days, roughly the end of the month. The current schedule is for kids to start 4 days a week at school on Feb 8. I doubt the administration is going to make any commitments right now to let teachers work remotely past Feb 8. Furthermore, I don’t see how the administration will have the time to review all hardship applications.

    DCSD Employees Return to Work Considerations
    Teachers and staff experiencing hardships may notify their immediate supervisors, complete the Hardship Request Application, and continue to work remotely for 30 days. At the end of the 30-day window, the hardship application will be reviewed. (Note: The Hardship Request Application must be submitted no later than Friday, January 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. through the following link: https://survey.sogosurvey.com/r/8UPcR4)

    4
  6. DSW2Contributor

    Tammie Sanford is the 4th Georgia teacher to die from Covid since Dec. 20:
    https://twitter.com/LostToCovid/status/1346139786487222273

    1
  7. PPE and Hardship

    Received my PPE today and it was laughable. Whose bright idea was it to give teachers reusable rags to clean with? From what I was told, I’m to take and wash these rags at home. Unacceptable!

    And I thought each classroom was getting hand sanitizer. Am I wrong or did my school miss the memo? So is it my understanding that if I want or need hand sanitizer, I must go into the hallway and get it from one of the sanitizer dispenser stations the district paid for?

    Also, we were told today that principals have the ultimate say in approving or denying hardship requests? Feels like a conflict of interest as a principal could be making decisions based on persona feelings (not really liking a particular teacher) or gain (having a school adequately staffed) and not based on the need of school personnel. And I find it pretty messed up that you could have your hardship denied while awaiting a pending FMLA or ADA request. Do we know when the district will have answers for those that submitted documentation prior to December break?

    13
  8. Excuse me???

    PPE,

    Is DeKalb giving me a weekly stipend to use my water, electricity, and laundry detergent to wash those rags? If not, parents better be prepared to be the weekly rag washers because I refuse. I’m putting my foot down. DeKalb will not get an extra ounce of my time or energy outside of my designated contract hours or my job description. Nowhere in my job description does it say to clean the building or do laundry in my free time. Not happening.

    28
  9. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ @PPE and Hardship – “Received my PPE today and it was laughable.”
    ——————————–
    Please share pictures and a description of your “laughable” PPE with the media. Wilborn P. Nobles III is the AJC reporter assigned to cover DCSD. His email address is on this page:
    https://www.ajc.com/staff/wilborn-p-nobles/

    14
  10. Concerned teacher

    So, we show up to school (DHS) today, and there’s no Internet & the phones aren’t working. Somebody used their cell phone to call the Bryant Center, and about 10:30 IT shows up. The problem was fixed pretty quickly, so by 11am we had phones & Internet. Good thing today was asynchronous! Can you imagine the uproar from the Dunwoody parents if we’d had synchronous class & NONE of the teachers could login?? But sure, we’re 100% ready to go back hybrid & concurrent.

    24
  11. New York is supposed to be returning to virtual education because numbers are going up. Teachers who qualify for ADA protection are waiting for responses to their application. Now they also have fill out hardship forms which have 5 affirmations in clouding that we agree to any placement the county chooses and we will have no recourse. It is good that I have decided to retire. I wonder how many openings all the counties who have dealt with teachers poorly will have next year?

    11
  12. We weren’t provided with any PPE today. It’s quite possible that it’s in the building, but it wasn’t passed out to teachers. Good thing I knew to bring my own cleaning supplies. This is one of the main reasons teachers don’t feel safe. We know the things we hear in board meetings and town halls aren’t an accurate reflection of what actually happens.

    24
  13. Confused Teacher/Parent

    Regarding the 30 days return to Hardship form, why are they counting weekends and holidays? That makes no sense! Yet another reason to be distrustful of DeKalb admin.

    12
  14. Concerned teacher

    @Loss for words, you said:
    January 2, 2021 at 11:30 PM |
    @Stef
    Seriously??? You don’t even live in the state? Just collecting a paycheck sitting on a computer.. Riddle me this… what would you have done if there wasn’t Covid? Would you have extended your Lease or broke your contract to move?
    You consider this a hardship ?!
    Teachers like you is what’s frustrating parents!
    Even better was your follow up for the pay increase

    @Loss for words, if you think Stef is the only DeKalb teacher who has been out of state, you are sorely mistaken. Some teachers chose to isolate themselves for a couple of weeks, get tested, and go live with family out of state so that they could still spend some quality time with family. And those teachers have worked their a$$es teaching your kids virtually.

    But if you’re going to go there, then what about all the families who decided to go to the beach in the middle of the week, so their kids sign on just long enough to say, “I won’t be on the Teams call because we’ll be on a plane or in the car all day.” What about that? What about families who decided to go to their native countries and CAN’T logon ever because VERGE only works inside the US? Is it only TEACHERS who have to stay in their metro-Atlanta homes? It’s fine for families & students to bail, but not teachers? Nice double standard.

    The difference is, even if a teacher in out of state, they are still logging in everyday, making phone calls, reaching out to parents & students, planning lessons, grading assignments, and, again, working their a$$es off for YOUR students. And for LESS PAY.

    Parents like you are what make teachers frustrated. Cuts both ways, sweetie.

    29
  15. DSW2Contributor

    GA DPH data as of 1/04/2021, 2:50:10 PM:

    Dekalb County, % Positive Last Two Weeks: 13.2%.

    Dekalb County, % PCR Tests Positive: 16.7
    Dekalb County, 7-Day Moving Average: 14.2
    Statewide, % PCR Tests Positive: 20.4
    Statewide, 7-Day Moving Average: 19.5

    8
  16. Stan, thank you for always posting updates and trying to help parents and teachers on this blog. Speaking up at Board meetings has brought you a lot of unnecessary and racist/elitist criticism from your peers, but you persevered on behalf of all of us.
    It’s is crazy that teachers still do not know what to do! It is so unfair. Some have had to take ADA leave or FMLA both without pay and then a new hardship option was introduced without crucial information about the consequences to a teacher’s pay, work assignment, and future assignments. No one can really say who will be teaching the children or if there will even be enough warm bodied adults in the buildings. I hope the plan is better than it looks. Once again, the teachers will be the ones doing all the work to make their classrooms a little safer. Thank you, teachers.

    4
  17. That’s nice of you to say Cathy. I get the feeling that the district is kind of waiting to see how many teachers show up to work. When the new semester starts, and students are allowed to come to school 4 days a week, I think the administration will try to pair up the teachers that come to school with the students that come to school. The administration seems to be in a holding pattern for a couple weeks until the dust settles on this latest phase.

  18. I just checked the numbers on the DPH website. The positivity rate according to the guv is 1.5% higher than last week. Those are the Christmas numbers. Next week come the New Year numbers. Get those hardship requests in to protect yourself and your family!! May at the end of thirty days teachers will have the vaccine and things will settle down so we all can return to the classroom safely.

    9
  19. “ PM plunges England back into March-style lock-down: Schools are shut as public are told again to Stay Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS until at least the end of February – IF vaccine roll-out succeeds”

    2
  20. Questions???

    Can you apply for hardship in February after the 30 days if circumstances change if you don’t apply now? If you apply for hardship now and change your mind after the Jan 11 board meeting, are you allowed to go back to in person teaching or must you wait til after the Feb 3 date?

    4
  21. Stan,

    You stated that you will not shut this site down. Thank you!
    More specifically, will you continue to post new content in 2021?

    6
  22. I don’t see how the school district is going to let teachers teach from home in February if they are going to have kids back in school 4 days a week.

    3
  23. ParenTeacher

    Stan, I think you answered your own question, “When the new semester starts, and students are allowed to come to school 4 days a week, I think the administration will try to pair up the teachers that come to school with the students that come to school.”

    1
  24. Can the District force teachers with genuine medical issues to report to school? What is the ADA for then if not to protect those among us who are working from home despite medical issues. BTW a question. I have been thinking about the requirements to sign the hardship application in addition to the ADA request. I suspect that the language in the hardship form is intended to screw with Federal regulations regarding ADA. That could be why the hardship forms had to be in by Friday. Who has time to check with lawyers with the deadlines we have and the chaos around us. If they try to mess with my federally protected rights I will be contacting an attorney and I suspect a class might join me. They just don’t learn.

    10
  25. I am so sick and tired of the parents who think that the teachers are not doing anything because they are teaching remotely. Let the parents who want to put their students into private school go right ahead. With the economy the way it is, I think it’s a baseless threat. Private schools have admission requirements and they are costly. If they really wanted their students in private school they would have already been there by now. If the parents have $25K to burn, let them do it. Personally, I would not give in to the bullying. The Superintendent’s initial plan was based on recommendations from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/indicators.html#thresholds). I am not sure why she is not sticking to it. Teachers are not lazy, they are afraid. The parents are just focusing on the children, saying they will be fine. What about the teachers? Will they be fine? The parents need to tour the buildings they are trying desperately to push their children back into and see how DCSD has “prepared” them. It is laughable. Teachers do not want to go back because they do not feel safe. There are no safety measures in place. None. The US should have used all that stimulus money equipping schools with resources needed to protect the teachers and the students from Covid. DCSD could have use monies to equip schools with the needed safety items like plexiglass shields for desks. This could have been in done over the summer. We have wasted time and now this is what we are left with. On another note, I think the super’s ploy by granting hardships is to place the blame on the teachers for schools not re-opening and shift the focus from her. “I tried to re-open the schools, but not enough teachers to staff the building.” Too bad we cannot hit the reset button and start over. Oh, well…

    26
  26. @ParentTeacher, I believe the administration is hoping to pair up the teachers that want to go to school with the students that come to school. The likelihood of that remotely being possible is slim. What happens when all the second grade teachers want to work remotely? Realistically, what happens when 90% of the teachers want to work remotely and only 60% of the kids work remotely? I think the administration is in a holding pattern to see what that breakdown is. I hope I’m wrong and this works out.

    5
  27. Stan, do you get the sense that the Superintendent is kicking the can down the road waiting to see if another metro district remains virtual? I ask this because within a short time after APS announced all virtual DeKalb followed suit and then when APS announced a return to F2F for second semester DeKalb did too. I’m trying to make sense of the timing of these decisions.

    2
  28. Hello @D. DeKalb Schools was using spread to drive the learning model used until December. Since day 1, I didn’t think we would be going back until 2021. At the December board meeting, the superintendent said DeKalb schools was using spread to determine the learning model. A few days later, almost overnight, they came out and said they weren’t using spread anymore. I don’t know where that came from.

    The superintendents talk to each other. It’s also possible that something came out that has convinced them to change the driver/formula.

    8
  29. @D, the cases are so high that group gatherings are not safe. I would think she’s thinking about the possibility that teachers and families could die because of her decisions.

    “ It is now ILLEGAL to leave the house in Scotland: Ministers say they are more worried about COVID ‘than at any stage in the pandemic so far’ as Sturgeon closes schools places of worship and bans group exercise”

    4
  30. DSW2Contributor

    DCSD’s twitter account tweeted out four pictures of CWH visiting empty school buildings:
    https://twitter.com/DeKalbSchools/status/13461a86363603988483

    1
  31. DSW2Contributor

    Here are the first three paragraphs of a really grim article on The Atlantic’s website:
    ————————————————–
    The Debate About School Safety Is No Longer Relevant

    For months, the debate about whether to open schools has centered on one question: Are schools safe? The only trouble is, this hardly matters anymore. Except in the few remaining regions with modest rates of viral spread, the transmission risk from and within schools is now beside the point. So many teachers and staff members are sick, quarantining, or have stepped down that many schools trying to remain open or to reopen just do not have the personnel available to do so well.

    The examples are countless. Littleton Public Schools in Colorado, in announcing their shift to remote learning, stated that one of their primary reasons for doing so was that “keeping enough staff in schools for supervision is becoming a real concern. It is especially difficult, and impossible on some days, to have enough licensed teachers in classrooms delivering quality instruction.” Jeannine Nota-Masse, the superintendent of Rhode Island’s second-largest school district, was quoted in a local news story as saying, “Now you have students in the building and not enough adults to cover for the adults that are home for various reasons.” One elementary school near Milwaukee lacked 10 teachers on a recent day; Metro Nashville Public Schools has, according to The Tennessean, “had more than 200 teachers or staff members in quarantine or self-isolation each week since the end of October.” In a Reuters survey of 217 districts across 30 states, about half reported significant staffing issues—and this was before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the arrival of deep winter.

    The reason for the shortages isn’t intransigent teachers’ unions or unreasonable fear; it’s simply that the virus is too widely spread. Upwards of 200,000 new COVID-19 cases are reported most days, and Anthony Fauci recently warned that January numbers will likely look even bleaker. The new viral variant, if it takes hold in the U.S., may worsen matters further. With so much spread, a significant number of teachers, nurses, bus drivers, food-service workers, custodians, and other staff in any given district will inevitably catch COVID-19 or be exposed, week after week. That’s bad enough on its own, and depending on a district’s particular policies for quarantining contacts (for instance, whether everyone in a building with a positive case must isolate, versus only those who had direct contact with the infected individual), a further multiplier effect can exacerbate the consequences for staffing.
    ———————————————————————–
    The full article is here:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/schools-staff-shortages/617465/
    The Atlantic has a paywall, but it lets you read a few articles each month for free.

    11
  32. Hello @ DSW2Contributor,

    You seem to have a great understanding of what is happening in DeKalb Schools. Thanks for your thoughtful, informative posts.
    I am under the impression that we, teachers, will not offer live instruction until the 19th of January. I guess Monday and Tuesday of next week, January 11th and 12th, will be independent virtual days for students. How say you?

    Thanks

    2
  33. Well if she’s talking to other Supers, maybe Dr. Beasley’s decision to keep his schools virtual can help her out. He made a decision to follow the metrics in August and has stuck to it… period! That is leadership! His demographics are definitely different from ours, but his families look like the majority of our families on the Southside who are the most impacted by this virus. But I digress. Bottom line… use the metrics and stick with it! Plain and simple!

    28
  34. DSW2Contributor, I agree with Hey Now. You are very informative. Now that Stan is no longer a Board Member, maybe you could start your own blog? If you do, let us know so we can follow. Thank you for all the information you share with us.

    10
  35. “COVID has killed one in 930 Americans: Nation endures deadliest week of pandemic yet with average of 2,600 dying per day – as LA County tells ambulance crews to stop transporting people with little chance of survival
    More than 18,400 Americans have died of COVID-19 in the last week and the seven-day rolling average for fatalities is now at just over 2,600 per day
    There were 1,903 COVID-19 deaths and 180,477 new infections across the country on Monday”
    “A record 128,210 patients are also currently being treated for coronavirus in hospitals, which is up 25 percent compared to last month
    Hospitals in hard-hit Los Angeles County are ramping up efforts to ration care amid a 1,000 percent spike in admissions since early November
    Ambulance crews in the county are being advised to conserve oxygen and not to transport patients who have virtually no chance of survival to the hospital
    The nationwide death toll is also expected to skyrocket in the coming weeks as a result of holiday activities”

    Not safe for any group gatherings!

    8
  36. I have family and friends in Gwinnett, Cobb, Fulton and Henry. In each of these systems, the teachers are teaching both Face to Face Classes and Virtual Classes at the same time. There were not enough teachers to have one group teaching only Face to Face and one group only teaching Virtual Classes. This can be very challenging for students and teachers. If DeKalb is going to use this format, I hope professional learning will be provided for the teachers and administrators.

    DeKalb may have different plans. But, I would imagine that DeKalb will follow a similar structure. Both the students in the classes and the students learning virtually are using the computer for lessons. I hope that the school system will be honest about the way classes are going to be taught. This information will be important to parents and students so that they can make an informed decsion,.

    6
  37. @Yes
    DSW2Contributor was associated with (or was the author of?) the DeKalb School Watch blog for years. You can see it here: https://dekalbschoolwatch.com/. Many of the issues were the same!

    4
  38. DSW2Contributor

    ^ @TuckerMom – “DSW2Contributor was associated with (or was the author of?) the DeKalb School Watch blog”
    ———————————–
    I only contributed a few articles to the blog, hence my moniker.

    Others did all the hard work.

    3
  39. DSW2Contributor

    TEACHERS and STAFF, take note of teachers demonstrating the death of one of their own has caused the Henry County Superintendent to go remote:
    ————————————————-
    HENRY COUNTY, Ga. – Henry County students returning from winter break will be learning from home for the start of the new year.

    The school system had offered a hybrid option for in-person learning but will change to completely remote learning as the district responds to the continued coronavirus pandemic.

    The district sent a letter to families late Monday night, Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis cited a “troubling trend” of the virus’ spread which “created a sense of urgency in our school district to look at all options for the continued health and wellbeing of our school community.”

    The decision comes after an early-morning demonstration by educators expressing fears about in-person teaching while mourning the loss of Stockbridge Elementary School teacher LuAnne Burns, who died from COVID-19 in December.
    ————————————————-
    https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/henry-county-schools-revert-to-remote-learning-for-years-start

    10
  40. Concerned Teacher

    My school has had about 20 total teachers return out of about 100. On my grade level, there are THREE teachers that returned (out of 20). I don’t know what other schools in the county look like due to teachers exercising the hardship, but mine was basically decimated. There is no way we can have students back on January 19th as these teachers that have taken the hardship can not return until February 4th. And, if they do stick with the plan to have students back on the 19th, that is extremely unfair to the teachers that elected to not take the hardship and come into work as scheduled.

    Also, my building is infested with ants and roaches. So, I’m not quite sure why the county is hailing that the buildings are ready to receive staff and students.

    30
  41. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^^^^^Celeste — “maybe Dr. Beasley’s decision to keep his schools virtual can help her out.”
    ————————————————————–
    I just want to remind everyone that Clayton Schools Superintendent Dr. Beasley used to be a long time and well-liked DCSD Administrator.

    He left Dekalb to become Clayton’s Chief School Improvement Officer, then he was named their Superintendent. After he was named Superintendent, he began calling many of DCSD’s better leaders and encouraged them to apply to Clayton. 8 or 9 of them did and they are now running Clayton Schools alongside him. He tried recruiting some others as well, but they did not bother applying because they did not live within a reasonable commute of Jonesboro.

    17
  42. DSW2Contributor

    New article by AJC reporter Wilborn P. Nobles III titled “DeKalb tries to ease fears as school buildings reopen”:
    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/dekalb-tries-to-ease-fears-as-school-buildings-reopen/OWLBL7ZAEFCU3L3E2UDXAMHSVI/

    The AJC’s headline is perfect. CWH and the Palace have *not* put in the hard work needed to make schools safe. Instead of doing the hard work, she is treating safety like it is a branding exercise.

    I wonder if CWH is being advised by the same people who convinced her predecessor that “I love DC Schools” stickers, billboards and a pep rally in Gwinnett were good ideas?

    13
  43. “ One in FIFTY people now have COVID Boris reveals as UK records another 830 deaths and 60,916 cases – but PM says 1.3million have now been vaccinated and pledges UK CAN get jabs to most vulnerable by mid-February despite fears he is ‘over-promising’
    Boris Johnson has revealed one in 50 people in England is infected with coronavirus as the variant spreads
    PM told a Downing Street briefing that getting more than 13m people vaccinated in seven weeks can happen
    Michael Gove warned drastic new national lockdown for England could last into March and only eased slowly
    All primary and secondary schools have shut today for all but the vulnerable and children of key workers
    Non-essential retail will close across the country along with hospitality unless they can serve takeaway
    Takeaway alcohol sales will not be permitted in a bid to stop people congregating in the streets with drinks
    GCSE and A-Level exams look set to be largely cancelled with final replacement plans due later this week
    People will only be allowed to leave home for five specific reasons as in the previous lockdown in March ”

    The UK refused to shutdown schools until now and look at the disaster the mutated virus is creating. The news from the UK keeps getting worse and worse. Mutated virus was found in Florida. How long until it infests Atlanta? Not safe to return to school at this time.

    6
  44. DSW2Contributor

    @Hey Now – “I am under the impression that we, teachers, will not offer live instruction until the 19th of January…. How say you?”
    —————————————–
    Sorry, I cannot tell you what will happen next week since plans are changing again — there is a called Principal’s meeting happening about 75 minutes from now.

    18
  45. “ First case of new, highly-contagious COVID-19 variant identified in Georgia, health officials say

    The Georgia resident is an 18-year-old male with no travel history, and is currently in isolation at home.”

    9
  46. I wonder when hand sanitizer stations and water bottle refill stations will be installed…
    Do some schools already have it?

    6
  47. Is there anything new from the principals’ meeting today?

    11
  48. Nothing good- 4:30 Newsflash from the Super thanking people who are prepping for reopening and showing understanding and sympathy toward those teachers who won’t be returning due to hardship.

    Basically feels like she’s doubling down on the county reopening plan. Just not sure who’s going to be in the building to greet the kids.

    With Covid numbers at the highest levels yet, we should commit to staying virtual at least through January and then reassess. Geez…

    27
  49. According to 11 Alive, DeKalb County is going to start giving the Covid vaccine to people aged 65+ and their caretakers next week at the BrandsMart and Sam’s Club @ Stonecrest locations. I hope all DeKalb teachers who are 65+ or a caretaker for someone 65+ will go get vaccinated next week!

    https://www.11alive.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/vaccine/covid-vaccines-dekalb-slowing-testing-to-focus-on-vaccination/85-6024a884-dfb0-4439-a732-1a3ee5fb1ee2

    5
  50. DSW2Contributor

    Stan,

    I am saddened that Nancy and you are no longer elected officials and I think the county is worse off with guys not serving… but I am also really happy that the two of you and your children are getting a well-deserved break from all the bullcrap that comes with being in elected office!

    I hope you two consider running again, but also understand why you might choose not to.

    11
  51. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^ Rose Fekete – Is there anything new from the principals’ meeting today?
    ———————————————
    Not really. CWH and the Palace continue to put Principals in an impossible situation. They again told Principals to approve all hardship requests and to also be ready to open schools for F2F.

    TEACHERS and STAFF: my advice continues to be that everyone should fill out a hardship request. Just tell the truth. The “other” option is there for a reason, so use it if you have to — just tell truth. Your reason might be that you have not been provided with (and/or have not been able to purchase for yourself) N-95 masks and other PPE. Your reason might be that you are too fearful to come back before you and other members of your household have been vaccinated. Maybe you do not have transportation because MARTA closed the bus route you use to get to school, or maybe your spouse/partner needs to use your only car because their bus route was closed. Maybe you did report to school, saw how badly prepared your school was, and now you are too stressed out and fearful to go back.

    YOU HAVE TO SAVE YOURSELVES!

    Also realize that CWH and DCSD have backed themselves into a corner: they spent months keeping schools closed because of data (cases per 100K), then CWH said she would follow other data (test positivity), and then CWH sent out an email over the Christmas break that ended with her saying that you should stay home because that was where you are safest.

    CWH and the Palace are all smart, cunning people who look out for themselves. I think they are smart enough to realize that if we open for F2F at the peak of the pandemic then there will be wrongful death lawsuits against them and DCSD. I would not want to be CWH having to defend my decision making under oath!

    33
  52. Thanks Stan for all that you have done to support teachers. You will be sadly missed. You are such a blessing to all educators.

    16
  53. Region 1 Teacher

    If you are the slightest bit concerned about your health I strongly encourage you to fill out the hardship request. For reason why you are claiming, select “Other” and specify “I am not comfortable with the steps that are proposed to protect my health.”

    11
  54. If so Dekalb is so prepared why are teachers asking for additonal cleaning supplies? Dekalb gives schools the bare minimum and teachers always have to ask for more to supplement their classrooms. But now under these conditions Dekalb continues to do the minimum. Don’t be fooled. The videos they show how the custodians are cleaning and moving furniture is joke. Some portions of the videos are not from schools in this county. Unfortunately, the schools do not all have well trained custodians or leadership.

    20
  55. Dear Stan and anyone else,

    If the hardship request are for 30 days beginning January 4, 2021 and the students are returning January 19, 2021, it does not seem like staff will be back in the schools by then.
    It does not seem like there was a lot of thought put into opening schools. Maybe I am missing something.

    11
  56. @Joy. I think your timeline and assessment are astute.

    3
  57. @Joy: and now you understand why teachers are skeptical that the buildings are safe for students, for us, and for the rest of the staff!

    8
  58. @Teacher123, How many teachers do you figure can be safely in a school without students?

    1
  59. @Stan: good question, and I don’t really know the answer. My concern remains mainly with the air quality/cleanliness and/or lack thereof. The other problem is that in many schools there are more students and teachers than there are classrooms, which compounds the number of people within an enclosed space during the day. This new strain that has locked down the UK adds another level. If community spread were low in DeKalb, and it is not, then this would be less of an issue in my opinion.

    8
  60. @Teacher. I guess if the air quality or cleanliness is not good enough, we will know in a couple weeks. These mega schools are indeed a problem.

    6
  61. Stan. How many teachers? None.We don’t know what teachers did for the holidays and we are not required to get COVID-19 tested. Teachers are sometimes not compliant with other rules. Why should we assume everyone will do the correct thing now? I am not bashing, nor am I complaining about colleagues. I am just stating facts in answering your question. I feel zero is the correct number with data on health issues not available to anyone including the principal.

    8
  62. Hello @Rose Fekete. Understood. That’s generally the case wherever you are outside your home these days. That’s why I recommend socially distancing, wearing masks, and frequently washing your hands.

    3
  63. DSW2Contributor

    Teaches & Staff, SAVE YOURSELVES! You will *NOT* be getting vaccinated anytime soon. From a December 31, 2020 article in the AJC:
    ——————————————–
    Georgia appears to be among the slowest of states to distribute the vaccine to its residents. The most recent data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows 480 of every 100,000 Georgians have received a vaccination shot — a lower ratio than any other state except Kansas, Mississippi and Ohio. Among Georgia’s neighbors, Tennessee is leading the way with a vaccination rate more than twice as high as Georgia’s.

    As of Thursday, Georgia had received 376,325 vaccine doses, but health-care providers had administered just 76,742 doses, or about 20%, state data shows.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/coronavirus-national-regional-news/georgia-expands-vaccination-plans-as-some-still-await-first-doses/RVS2SRT5ZNDPJPZZSXR4KIJXPE/

    2
  64. DSW2Contributor

    The DeKalb County Board of Health *CANCELLED* *ALL* scheduled COVID-19 testing appointments THRU SATURDAY:

    https://www.11alive.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/vaccine/covid-vaccines-dekalb-slowing-testing-to-focus-on-vaccination/85-6024a884-dfb0-4439-a732-1a3ee5fb1ee2ting appointments through Saturday:

    1
  65. Step Increase Inquiry

    Maybe I missed this when the district promised teachers a step, but I’m pretty sure they left off the part where not everyone was getting a step. Based on the email we received tonight, only 6,000 teachers in the district qualified for the increase. Stan, how many teachers do we have in the district?

    3
  66. DSW2Contributor

    ^ @Step Increase Inquiry is referring to the latest crazy and lie-filled email that DCSD sent out late at night.

    Monday’s BOE meeting is gonna be one for the ages…

    8
  67. Why is it so difficult to find the salary scale for teachers?! I want to see the salary schedule!

  68. Step Increase Inquiry

    @tired

    Check your latest email. There is a link to view to salary steps.

    1
  69. Ken Thompson

    @DSW2Contributor,
    Where did you get numbers on doses *received*? I was just looking over the Georgia Department of Public Health site (https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine) and the numbers are somewhat different perhaps reflecting a more recent update (1/7/2021@17:15). They list doses *shipped* not *received* (a distinction and a difference) and the rest leaves much to conjecture. Doses administered does not indicate how many reflect both doses to an individual patient and as the vaccine rollout progresses this will become more obfuscating. I’d prefer to know how many patients have been *vaccinated* (IE: both doses). For those that represent only the first of two doses there is no indication that the second dose has been allocated. One might assume second doses come from to-be-shipped doses but I seem to recall a Shingrix supply issue… Like the DPH PCR info these are numbers but they are so imprecise and incomplete that the signal to noise ratio is almost zero. If you know of a site with more complete, raw data I would much appreciate access.

  70. @Tired. The teacher’s salary schedule can be found at the Dekalb Human Resources website under Employee Resources/ Salary Schedules (https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/hr/employee-resources/). The new schedule looks almost identical to the previous scale. However, “Actual Years Experience” 0 and 1 no longer share the same step. In other words, years experience 1 + all shifted up 1 salary step.

    1
  71. Wouldn't it be nice

    Wouldn’t it be nice if DeKalb schools had opened in late August or September as the rest of the state did? Teachers would have gone in and seen that it wasn’t the end of the world, instead of building up this level of doom that continues to grow. Students would have actually met their teachers and been on track or at least closer to where they need to be.

    And it would have set up nicely for a pause in in-person learning, which is what leading school districts are doing now. They know that they have prepared their kids in person, and can take some time to do virtual while the numbers are high, then bring the kids back after a few weeks.

    Instead, we have DeKalb coming back at probably the worst time, some teachers up in arms because they are scared of their shadow, and once again, kids getting the shaft.

    Stupid moves in August, stupid moves now. If you’re just settling into DeKalb and considering sending your kids, don’t. This is par for the course.

    8
  72. Is Dekalb the only county who has halted Covid testing to administer the vaccine?

    5
  73. Stan: in order to submit a hardship request, we must affirm that we have reviewed and understand DCSD Policies, including, but not limited to GAAA,GAE, GAEB, and GBU. I have searched high and low and have been unable to locate these policies. Could you please help point me in the right direction? I want to be sure that I am making an informed decision and am fully aware of what I am agreeing to.

    4
  74. It appears this half step for salaries is based on our furloughed salaries? A true half step would have been an increase in last year’a salary, would it not?

    Meanwhile, it’s published with allegations that we are the best paid in the metro area. Smoke and mirrors!

    15
  75. Step Increase Inquiry

    Speaking of policies. I’d like to add to Helps! post by asking what the board is planning on reviewing/approving in regards to policies at the next meeting. I looked over the agenda and it says under section H. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies section the following:

    “1. FIRST READ ~ Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Board Policy BAC, Equity….”
    “2. FIRST READ ~ Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Rescission of Board Policies: GAAA, Equal Opportunity Employment and JAA, Equal Educational Opportunities and Replacement of Board Policies: GAAA, Equal Opportunity Employment and JAA, Equal Educational Opportunities…”

    It just looks sketchy as hell to be reviewing/amending policies relating to employment

    5
  76. Step Increase Inquiry

    Stan: If people are signing off on the hardship saying they understand the policies will this apply to the most recent version of the policies at the time they reviewed and signed or is the board allowed to amend things after you sign and apply those amendments?

    3
  77. @teacher

    You are right we should be back to our original salary that it would of been for the year for this last semester. Instead we get our furloughed pay with 1/2 an increase

    4
  78. Doing the Math

    It seems to me that the salary increase is correct. Your daily rate has advanced one step. This year teachers are only contracted to work 185 days, so the increase in annual salary is not what you were expecting. I am in no way legitimizing the contract reduction days, the sham of the PDI or any other salary games that were played this year, but I do believe the step increase is as it was promised.

    5
  79. Does anyone know what to expect on Monday? I am home but some students will be in class. How will I teach them and who will monitor those in school? I guess I should expect a message on Sunday in the middle of the night!! Does anyone know anything?

    1
  80. @Lily,
    According to the schedule I posted, kids aren’t coming back until 1/19.

    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2020/12/12034/

  81. Concerned Teacher

    @Lily Black,

    Students should not be back in any classroom on Monday (January 11th) anywhere in the county that I’m aware of. Unless you know something that I don’t know (which given how poorly the county has handled this situation, that could be entirely possible). The return date for students (as of now, that I’m aware of) is January 19th. Hopefully, however, this will change after their board meeting this Monday, as many schools had overwhelming numbers of teachers elect to take the hardship, keeping them out of the school building until February 4th. I know at my school, I’m one of only 15-20 or so teachers (out of over 100) that elected to not take the hardship and are in the building. We would be screwed if the kids actually return on the 19th with the number of teachers we would have.

    6
  82. So Monday and Tuesday are synchronous or asynchronous? Thanks!

  83. This past Monday and Tuesday were asynchronous days. Monday and Tuesday coming up are regular remote learning (synchronous as it were) school days. Next week is the last few days of the semester, so many kids will have finals. –Stan

    1
  84. Stan,
    Some students at Dunwoody HS, and other block schedule high schools, will be taking the Milestones tests as their final exams.

    Do you know if they are having to come into the building to take those?

    Thanks for checking.

    1
  85. So about the HARDSHIP, why does one have to take the dates from 4 January through 3 February?

    I thought it was that we are not ready to come back into the building with students. If that is the case, why would I have to put as the affective dates as 4 January – 3 February for the HARDSHIP? Within this time frame there are 2 weeks whereby the students are not there. Why would one take time off when there are no students present. It seems like you would put dates 19 January – 3 March (counting school days) which is when the students are in the building.

    14
  86. Only 10,393 Cases Reported Today

    Oh, I forgot, County is not looking at metrics…Simply washing hands, social distancing, and having teachers clean the buildings will suffice.

    13
  87. Region 1 Teach

    Board meeting is virtual cause they can’t social distance- meanwhile teachers are set to have up to 36 kids in a room with them by the 25th….

    20
  88. DSW2Contributor

    Another new low for the Palace – they retweeted pictures showing the Chair of Piedmont Healthcare’s Infectious Disease Governance Council walking a DCSD school.
    https://twitter.com/AshfordParkES/status/1347631930116771840

    Dr. Garner is *NOT* — I repeat, *NOT* — a member of DCSD’s Medical Advisory Committee. Dr. Garner was only walking the school because she has a child that attends there.

    Look at the pictures — see how packed together the childrens desks are and that there are groups of three desks pushed together. Children are supposed to sit at those desks –NO SOCIAL DISTANCING– with masks optional. The children are also supposed to eat their lunches in that room. Maybe you should have your children pack powershakes and straws, so they could keep their masks on while eating (drinking) lunch?

    The pictures also show DCSD’s typical “Covid preparations” — the drinking fountains are covered up and there are arrows on the floor showing that you are to walk on the right side of the hall.

    THIS IS WHY TEACHERS ARE TERRIFIED TO GO BACK TO F2F.

    21
  89. Hi Stan. Thank you again for this blog and platform. One thing I just can’t fathom is WHY the superintendent decided we must start F2F at the moment when caseloads are the highest they’ve ever been and rising; when we are just a couple of months away from all teachers getting vaccines; when are we also months away from the next headcount; and after she promised for months that she’d never waver from making the decision based community spread? She has completely destroyed her own credibility here but she must have felt it was worth it. And, given how the District has communicated late, or omitted communications, about things like hardship leave, where to find substitute teachers, it sure doesn’t seem like the decision was made with careful forethought about how this would roll out. So, WHY the sudden about-face? I’m just baffled by a decision that looks bad for health, bad for retaining teachers (and other staff), bad for students whose teachers now have to teach masked and turning in two directions at once, and bad for herself. What is the upside she’s seeing? Any ideas?

    22
  90. Concerned teacher

    Dear @Wouldn’t it be nice:

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d remained in full lockdown through the end of May or longer in order to a) drive down numbers & b) drive home how serious the pandemic is? Wouldn’t it have been nice if our “leaders” in government had truly instilled the importance & *patriotism* of wearing masks instead of politicizing masks? Wouldn’t it have been nice if our “leaders” had fully instituted all of Dr. Birx & Dr. Fauci’s preventative measures rather than just giving them lip service, and then ignoring them? Then maybe our overall numbers would be lower right now. Wouldn’t that have been nice?

    26
  91. DSW2Contributor

    TEACHERS & STAFF: The latest CWH newsletter dropped about an hour ago. It says “All Hardship Request Applications will be reviewed and honored for a 30-day period up to February 2, 2021.”

    PARENTS: There are *NO* reopening dates mentioned in the newsletter. Instead, CWH writes “I also encourage our families to watch our Board meeting on January 11, 2021, at 11:30 am for the Virtual Community Input Meeting. We will provide important updates regarding face-to-face instruction.”

    https://mailchi.mp/dekalbschoolsga/greetings-from-superintendent-302830

    7
  92. Vanessa Thompson

    I agree…Hardship should not start before kids a back in the building

    11
  93. Who Works for Whom?

    I was under the impression that the superintendent works for School Board. This is not the case if superintendent unilaterally makes the final decision when we return to the classroom. The board obviously has no say in this. What is she bothering presenting her plan to open up schools during worst phase of the pandemic if she(Super) is the one who will have final say. What purpose does the board play in this life and death decision?

    25
  94. Cause she can

    @who works for who,

    The board has no say in the daily operations of the district. It is solely the superintendent’s decision on when schools will reopen… Hence, Gwinnet, et. al. ability to open without board support. You can Google school board (superintendent) responsibilities to see for yourself.

    2
  95. Dekalb is Rutter less

    At what point does Dekalb lose funding? Stan, any thoughts on how bad it’s getting? Accreditation and Funding have to be running on fumes at this point.

    2
  96. @Dekalb is Rutter less

    Dekalb has a lot of students. Funding will be in place. They might lose a little but don’t get excited wishing they lose more. They get money based on special education and other areas. Accreditation is not based on numbers. They just completed accreditation last year.

    8
  97. DSW2Contributor

    “Stone Mountain, GA — In accordance with the previously announced re-opening plan, the DeKalb County School District will delay face to face learning for students until the positivity rate drops below 10%.

    The information was disclosed during a Jan. 11 School Board meeting, which is ongoing.”
    and
    “Beginning January 19, classes will return to their normal bell schedules as listed on Infinite Campus. Classes will be conducted virtually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, using Wednesdays as instructional support days. Teachers will be on campus and teach virtually from classrooms.

    Families will be notified two weeks before students return to the classroom.”

    https://decaturish.com/2021/01/breaking-dekalb-county-schools-will-delay-reopening-due-to-high-covid-19-rates/

    9

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