Biden’s Executive Order Supports Reopening of Schools

On January 21, Biden signed an executive order supporting the reopening and continuing operation of schools and early childhood education providers.

“The United States is committed to ensuring that students and educators are able to resume safe, in-person learning as quickly as possible, with the goal of getting a majority of K-8 schools safely open in 100 days,” states the executive order which instructs various federal agencies to provide guidance on how to safely conduct in-person learning.

CDC Research

CDC researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this week, “there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”

As reported by the Washington Post

“A new CDC study, also published Tuesday, looked at 17 rural K-12 schools in Wisconsin and found just seven out of 191 coronavirus cases resulted from in-school transmission. Researchers noted that students and staff in these schools wore masks almost all the time.

The conclusion here is with proper prevention efforts . . . we can keep transmission in schools and educational settings quite low, said Margaret A. Honein, the lead author of the JAMA report. We didn’t know that at the beginning of the year but the data has really accumulated.”

DeKalb Schools

DeKalb Schools administration seems to have decided back in December that students will be coming back for F2F (face to face) instruction. In January, in addition to the leave or accommodations granted to employees under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), further considerations for temporary hardship situations were given to all employees who requested it. I’m not aware of any accommodations or considerations granted to employees starting next week.

Chicago Public Schools

DeKalb Schools isn’t alone with grappling with teachers and employees over how and when to return. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has been widely reported on in the media. CPS Administration announced plans to return to F2F instruction by next week. This Monday, the teacher’s union voted to refuse to teach in person. In response, CPS stated that teachers who do not show up for work will be “deemed absent without leave and will not be eligible for pay”. This week, 18% of CPS employees were no shows. As of this morning, media reports indicate that CPS students are learning remotely again while CPS and CTU return to negotiations.

343 responses to “Biden’s Executive Order Supports Reopening of Schools

  1. It’s nice that Clayton has a competent superintendent who won’t allow selfish parents to put his staff at risk. DeKalb missed out when we lost him.

    32
  2. Cheerleader answer me this

    Why are home office personel still allowed to work remotely, yet teachers have been assigned to possible death sentences?

    25
  3. DSW2Contributor

    From a WSB-TV Channel 2 article:
    —————————————————————
    Some of the county’s teachers expressed their concerns in a protest Tuesday, claiming it’s not safe for them to show up for work. They’re afraid of catching COVID-19 after a school police officer died from the virus.
    Content Continues Below

    “I know the old buildings we have in this district. They’re not clean and they’re not safe. They’re too old to be clean and safe and they haven’t done anything to make the ventilation better. We have schools that have no heat in the winter and no air in the summer. So what makes them safe to come back in? It doesn’t make sense,” said Deborah Jones from Educators of DeKalb County.

    Officer Washington Varnum Jr. worked at Henderson Middle School the week he tested positive for COVID-19. His wife of 12 years said she isn’t sure where he caught it and misses him dearly.

    “He was a fun person. Everybody he meets, its infectious how he laughs and just brings that light out. He loved children – he worked at a school,” said Carmen Varnum.

    Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Watson Harris said she’s making sure the schools are safe for everyone.

    https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/dekalb-county/dekalb-county-teachers-return-classrooms-1st-time-many-arent-happy-about-it/4UTRL7Q4VFHD5CFWKIEU6ALZKE/

    1079
  4. Elections Have Consequences

    Liberal Teacher Tears are flowing today, you voted for these policies on Nov 4th… just remember, elections do have consequences. If you voted for Biden and those two shining stars of the Senate you only have yourself to blame. Watson Harris would have waved her rebellious flag in the face to Kemp and Trump and you all would have cheered, sat at home and still worked very little to earn that paycheck. (*Note that Trump was never pushing for a mandatory return like Biden*) Now that you’ve had to throw off your slippers and turn off the TV while your students watched some inane video and filled out yet another worksheet all due to the Biden administration, remember, you voted for this. You had it good, you had it made, you could live in any state you wanted, traveled the world and then you voted yourselves right back in the classrooms.

    You may threaten to quit, but you don’t have the teachers union like those in Chicago do… you could quit and join up with all of those that lost their jobs due to Executive Orders… ah the good ol days of Biden.

    Remember 11/4/2020 you did this to yourselves…no parent north or south did this… you voted.

    11
  5. You Seem Nice

    @Elections

    Georgia went blue, thank God, bc the Republican Party is in shambles. lol. They actually convinced their voters to stay home!! They have embraced bat-sh!t crazy conspiracy theorists who cannot face the reality that Trump lost. Your Republicans made a Faustian bargain with Trump and now it’s coming time to pay up on that bargain. Are they going to be the party of Cheney or Greene, the Jewish space laser wielding denier of reality who thinks it’s ok to harass kids a few weeks after they saw their classmates shot to death? Looks like the party of limited government is fine with becoming an anti-democracy force in this country.

    And if we had a competent administration to guide us through this pandemic, we probably wouldn’t be in this so instead of blaming teachers, why not admit that this is crappy situation for all involved and IT’S NOT THE TEACHERS’ FAULT we’re in this mess.

    Are you this much of a jerk in real life, too?

    GTFO

    20
  6. @Elections – for such an expert, you got the date wrong. The Election that saved our country from the crazy GOP was November 3. Not the 4th. It always cracks me up – the conspiracy theorists are the people who don’t understand how a single thing works. Or can’t use google.

    And Trump talked about opening everything, all the time. He just didn’t give a crap who died because of it – certainly not low-ish income teachers or kids of the Black or Brown variety.

    15
  7. The only good repuglican is

    A defeated one.
    Elections…I hope you enjoy being in the minority for aeons. You must have voted or Trump and you must dream of nut job who is abot to be thrown off Education Committee Get Lost DF. DF, starts with dumb…guess what the F is…

    2
  8. DSW2Contributor

    In the AJC:
    ————————————————————————————-
    A DeKalb County School District employee’s death was due to complications from the coronavirus, his family said this week.

    Washington Varnum Jr., 54, was a campus supervisor at Henderson Middle School for the last three years, according to a statement from a district spokeswoman earlier this week. The statement did not include a cause of death.

    “The DeKalb County School District sends its condolences to the family of Mr. Washington Varnum, Jr., as well as to the Henderson Middle School family,” the statement said. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

    Varnum’s family said he worked in the school building until winter break, which began on Dec. 21. He was hospitalized with COVID-19 on New Year’s Day, where he remained in the intensive care unit until his death, they said.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/dekalb-school-leaders-death-due-to-covid-19-family-says/DB7A3NZT7NGGJMGSS6A6UEIX4U/

    4
  9. DSW2Contributor

    Today, Wednesday February 3, was the day that all DCSD teachers and staff were required to report back to their buildings. It did not go well.

    The Superintendent started the day early, sending one of her all-employee emails a little after midnight. Her message did not help with attendance. I do not have numbers to share and I did not visit any school buildings myself, but my network tells me it was clear that many teachers stayed away. At some elementary and middle schools you could see the absences just by looking at the relatively empty parking lots.

    This afternoon, the Superintendent used her personal twitter account to announce “We’re Ready”:
    https://twitter.com/CWATSONHARRIS/status/1357042924081586177

    I *beg* everyone reading this to please take the time to go look at the pictures attached to the Superintendent’s tweet, especially the fourth:
    https://twitter.com/CWATSONHARRIS/status/1357042924081586177/photo/4
    The desks are only 2 feet from each other, so there is no social distancing in that classroom. Apparently putting a paper notebook and toolbox on each desk is what CWH thinks Covid-mitiigation is.

    CWH’s job right now is to make teachers feel safe by giving the impression that DCSD is taking Covid seriously… but CWH herself *chose* to tweet out pictures on her personal social media account that prove DCSD is ignoring the CDC guidelines.

    16
  10. DSW2Contributor

    Before she deletes it, I’m going to quote the Superintendent’s tweet:
    —————————————————————————-
    Proud of @DeKalbSchools! Spent the morning with some of our Champions! We’re ready! @rowland @columbiams @bmewildcats
    —————————————————————————-

    CWH could not even tweet at the right school accounts: @roland is a twitter user in the United Kingdom, while @columbiams is somebody named “Alice Hinds” that has never tweeted before.

    6
  11. DSW2Contributor

    CWH also thought it would be a good idea to tweet out a picture of a DCSD employee wearing hospital scrubs to school today:
    https://twitter.com/CWATSONHARRIS/status/1357042924081586177/photo/2

    That photo was taken today, on February 3 — we are nowhere near Halloween season!

    10
  12. Parking lot was full at MES.

    Glad teachers are back in the classrooms.

    2
  13. waitingforgodot

    While teachers are back in the classrooms each day, central office employees in human resources, payroll, and education media are working in person on alternate days.

    Apparently, only central office employees are given a say in their determination of a safe distance.

    Teachers who must share a room and air with one or two other teachers are fine. So are the ones who have to do F2F testing this week.

    Demographics is glad teachers are back in those classrooms, so that’s something.

    20
  14. Fingerprinting

    Meanwhile, the Dekalbs office of public safety tried to cancel all of their fingerprinting appointments (again…keep in mind they’ve been closed for that positive Covid case for 2 weeks) for today because of a scheduling error on their part. I made that appointment at least 2 weeks ago. I was the first appointment of the day and the lady at the front desk tried to tell me all appointments were cancelled. As I argued with her to let her know I never received a cancellation notice, an officer came up and said they’d allow me to do mine. My appointment was at 8. I received a cancellation emailed at 8:25 as I was driving back to my school. This district is an absolute joke! Apparently, they usually process 9 people an hour but overheard them say they were moving to 3. If you need your fingerprinting done for recertification, don’t wait because they are WAY behind.

    15
  15. waitingforgodot

    Fingerprinting,

    How do you know if it was scheduling or more Covid? I’m guessing there will be no more emails announcing Covid at the department of public safety. Or anywhere else in the district.

    District doesn’t tell anyone anything about Covid cases so that people like Demographics can be excited about teachers back in classrooms.

    Numbers of cases and deaths don’t really give a sense that things are safe and all is well.

    11
  16. I was scheduled to fingerprint today and I did get the notice. They wanted me to reschedule for Saturday. That isn’t happening. This is a job requirement. It will happen during contract time.

    13
  17. Fingerprinting

    @Waitingforgodot

    I overheard what the officers were saying. And yes, I also heard the part about trying to get people to reschedule for the next several Saturday’s. They talked about how far behind they are and after they get done with all of the recertifications that they will be slammed with all the new hires.

    Now whether they meant these new hires are meant for this school year or next school year…that I don’t know.

    6
  18. waitingforgodot

    Fingerprinting and witsend,

    Public safety is closed because of Covid exposure. Just another day in the life of…

    Teachers and employees in school buildings, you aren’t afforded the same mitigation strategy.

    Go committed Dekalb workers! It’s only a pandemic!

    6
  19. Scared to go back to school

    Just heard they are closing Bethune Middle School down because of Covid and it only teachers and staff there that is a problem.

    8
  20. @Scared to go back to school

    Wow, really? Can you please share where/how you heard this? Just want to ensure this is credible and factual and not just a rumor.

    4
  21. Scared to go back to school

    @WOW don’t know how true it is but you people are talking about it so I figured someone on here my know something like. DSW2Contributor have you heard anything

    1
  22. @Scared to go back to school

    Well I would hope those that post things like that on here only post them if they know first-hand, or hear or see it from a credible source (not just word of mouth). Was this just a circulated rumor you heard from someone? Or, did you hear this from someone with first-hand knowledge (an employee actually in the Bethune building)?

    3
  23. Scared to go back to school

    @Wow Thanks for sharing

  24. @Scared to go back to school,

    I wasn’t sharing, I was asking you a question. And, you still didn’t answer it.

  25. Scared to go back to school

    @Wow I said I heard and I don’t have to tell my sources. I will not keep entertaining you. Thanks you

  26. Safety Concerns

    Please write your U.S. Senators and Representatives. If no one on the local level will work to get teachers vaccinated, require low number of cases in the community for in-person learning, and have a basic reporting or quarantine protocol, we can ask for federal legislation. Of course I want to teach in person, but I want to be alive and healthy to teach next year and beyond.

    5
  27. Fingerprinting

    @Waitingforgodot

    Where did you hear this about them being closed again due to Covid? I was going on what I was directly told and heard while I was there yesterday.

  28. @fingerprinting: we got an internal e-mail at school today that said that public safety was closed until further notice due to COVID and appointments would need to be re-scheduled.

    2
  29. It’s true about Bethune. The County is so fucked that they allowed a team of IT professionals to go there today WITHOUT telling them of the contagion. Those folk went into the main area where the COVID-infected individual had been, and when they returned to their worksite were told that they will now have to quarantine for 2 weeks.

    And DeKalb Schools has everything under control, and everyone is safe, and all the schools are sanitized, and Super Watson-Harris cares about her employees, and DeKalb is not responsible for anyone catching COVID, and DeKalb is not responsible for anyone dying from COVID, and DeKalb is SO transparent, and you can trust DeKalb Schools’ leaders, and I just want to S.C.R.E.A.M.

    Super Watson-Harris is the worst! The BOE needs to terminate her immediately FOR CAUSE and pay her nothing. She truly is dangerous and will wind up causing the deaths of many innocent victims who were forced FOR NO REASON other than her own vanity to return to these fucking schools to teach virtually just like they had been doing these past months at home.

    IT. MAKES. NO. SENSE.

    21
  30. And The Techies That got Infected Must Use Their Sick Days

    Great Policy Dekalb has there. You have to use up sick days. That in itself, is a disincentive to quarantine. So what if many others get infected.

    8
  31. waitingforgodot

    Wow,

    If there are rumors. that’s probably because the district won’t be transparent. Easy fix. Tell people the locations and numbers. Dekalb has the fifth highest number of Covid cases in the state and the school district is the second largest employer in the county, so if Covid isn’t at Bethune, it’s likely somewhere else.

    The school district doesn’t require employees to do any health checks and it hasn’t told employees how they’d be using quarantine days or if they even have to quarantine if exposed. People with few to no sick or personal days may decide their livelihood is more important than other peoples’ lives. No one knows how many employees acquired Covid while working in the district’s school buildings and centers and offices from August to December or the last month of our compassionate super’s hardship, so no one can evaluate the efficacy of these supposed mitigation strategies just with small groups. It’s safe to say that contact tracing wasn’t happening If it was, we’d get that shouted out in a newsletter.

    Who knows if they entered buildings this week where they shared space and air with asymptomatic Covid-19 positive colleagues? Who knows if they entered a building that had a disproportionate number of cases that might signal a facility issue that should be addressed before calling more people into that building?

    What I can’t understand is how this return would assure parents wanting F2F that things will be safe. By the time the children do show up, how many Dekalb employees will be Covid positive?

    8
  32. Only Stupid Parents

    Will send their kids to a Covid sentence in Dekalb.

    9
  33. Safety concerns

    Y’all bring up a good point about quarantine. Employees who have to use their sick leave may refuse to test and spread infection. Has there even been a quarantine protocol shared with the staff and families? Is it optional after exposure or a positive test to continue coming to school? If DCSD is merely “partnering” with the health department, will anyone even know if they’ve been exposed unless the positive cases volunteer that information?

    9
  34. waitingforgodot

    Safety concerns,

    All voluntary. No district protocols.

    It’s clear the principals are having to figure it out as you go.

    The CDC is in Dekalb County. Makes you wonder why the CDC and the district wouldn’t work together to show big school districts all over the country how they could do this right. However, that would mean the district would have to admit most of its ventilation systems wouldn’t be usable for safe schooling.

    15
  35. Fingerprinting

    @teacher123

    When did you receive this email? I know the office was closed January 12-25 due to a Covid case because my original appointment was cancelled and I was prompted letting me know. I was there Wednesday and and was told directly why they cancelled or were planning to cancel appointments. I wasn’t told Covid.

    1
  36. Good Ole’ DeKalb

    Is it true the Bethune Middle is shut-down due to COVID cases. I’m hearing that the staff will work virtually tomorrow.

    3
  37. I don’t feel safe at school

    @Rose Vance

    I agree 100%. I was in the hallway of my school today and saw 3 of our custodians massless and standing 2-3 feet apart while talking to each other. And these are the people who are supposed to be helping with making sure our schools our clean, safe, and ready?!?!?! What makes it worse is that one of them is the head custodian!

    I feel like I’m in the twilight zone

    11
  38. Not signing the 21-22 teaching contract: I am totally confident that we can be safe in the school house, IF and ONLY IF everyone follows protocols. Teachers know best, not everyone will follow directions. Those who don’t follow protocol also know there is nothing anyone can do to make them. This is why my peers and I are not excited about returning to the school house, especially now that the virus is more easily spread and people are still dying.

    8
  39. Did anyone notice the PPE that Dekalb bought for the staff? I received 1 face shield yesterday, the day after we returned to school, one bottle of no name sanitizing solution, and a container of 100 wipes! Seriously! That will last approx. 2 days when students return. Our bathrooms have been missing soap with just the adults present so again, what happens when the kids return? We have a very old building with a small cafeteria and we are preparing for kids to eat in the cafeteria. How do you keep kids from running in the hallways or keeping their masks on all day, everyday? I think parents don’t truly understand that face to face will not look like the old days. Kids will be sitting at their desk with their computer being taught by the teacher who will be stationed behind her desk teaching kids who will continue with virtual learning at the same time that she/he will be teaching those who chose face 2 face. So what’s the different between face to face and virtual when everyone will still be sitting behind their computers all day? The governor promised $1,000 to each schoolhouse educational staff. Personally, I was looking forward to that so that I could replace the money that I have spent purchasing Lysol, Clorox wipes, alcohol wipes, face masks, Face SHIELDS, plexiglass stations for my students, gloves, Liquid Lysol and spray Clorox Disinfectant, hand sanitizer, temperature scanners and anything that I could think of to make me feel that my environment is safer for my students and for me because I knew that Dekalb would provide the minimum. Unfortunately, I was told that we, the building level staff would not be receiving the $1,000 from the governor because Dekalb is using it elsewhere. Now they already took approx. $2,000 dollars from my salary due to 5 furlough days and the 1/2 step did not make up for the loss. Some of my colleagues didn’t even get a step because of their number of years, yet they too loss $2,000. DeKalb had been going downhill for a whole now!

    9
  40. @fingerprinting: today during school hours.

  41. Well at least you received PPE’s. I didn’t receive anything. SOOOOO I guess I have to supply my own.

    4
  42. Life is short. Don’t shorten it with stupid decisions.

    How many know of teachers who stayed out yesterday or today? I did but I might be the only one. I still have not heard from on high about my ADA request and now my FMLA request since I heard nothing about the first. I have contacted PCS about possibly being reported as abandoning my contract. Finally I had enough of being ignored by the palace and my principal so I filed a complaint with the Civil Rights office in Washington for disability. Enough is enough. I am retiring in May. My family really was opposed until they realized how I was being treated. They are livid for and with me and agreed it is time to leave this job. And for any haters I am prepared to lose a month’s pay to be safe until I have both vaccines and have the time to make sure they took. I miss my kids but my own kids would miss me more. One more comment. I have always been professional in my job and I don’t deserve the terrible comments made by those who could not last in a classroom for more than a day. And if you could get your education degree and go into teaching. I know one job that will be vacant next year.

    18
  43. What were you thinking?

    Stan I have a question for you. @you seem nice made an anti Semitic comment about Jewish space laser wielding deniers of reality. I take offense at that. My question to you is would you have printed a racist comment about blacks? Somehow I don’t think so because blacks are off limits but Jews can get kicked in the tuches. I am very disappointed that you printed such garbage. All it took 80 years ago was for good people who saw the horror of genocide to say nothing. I am NOT comparing the genocide of the nazis to comments like the one I am referring to. But the murder of 11 million people including 6 million Jews started with this type of demonization which is alive today. Please explain your decision.

    2
  44. @What were you thinking. I’m a fan of the First Amendment, not Safe Spaces. Too many people think you don’t have the right to be heard if what you say might offend someone. Speech is not violence. I’m a huge advocate for the Jews, but I’m not going to remove “Jewish space laser wielding deniers of reality”. I condemn the comment and say it’s a terrible thing to say about a group of people that are nothing but demonized around the world. Anyway, I suppose there is a line, but that didn’t cross it.

    3
  45. SadForTheImpossibilityofStayingSafe

    I find myself coming back here to read comments again and again. The situation for DCSS employees is dire. I pray that people don’t get sick and die. Things are truly frightening and I worry that they may get worse.

    13
  46. Can anyone reading this (the board) investigate why we got a big dish rag to clean with? Why are we not given paper towels? A dish rag will spread corona everywhere. How do you not understand this? Who washes the corona infected dish rag? I don’t even use dish rags or sponges at home because they are a breading ground for germs. Cheap, yes, sterile, nooooo. We got a big dish rag, one bottle of questionable cleaning fluid, one container of Clorox wipes. We have received no information on safety, how to stay safe, how to stop the spread, what to do if you have symptoms, take your temp everyday. NOTHING. We have been told to wear a mask but people are congregating in rooms to gossip (per usual) and eating in groups with masks off. When I have said something to someone who kept coming in my room, that person acted offended. This is a disaster waiting to happen. I will not finish this year. There are no rules, no boundaries. I saw a custodian disinfecting Wednesday but the custodian completely disappeared Thursday (per usual). This is not a safe environment. I’m documenting it here and other places. If anyone is hospitalized or dies, there will be documentation of how unclean and unorganized and under supplied the schools are. I don’t know who exactly is in charge of buying the cleaning supplies or PPE, but that person may be in a lot of trouble when people start dying.

    16
  47. Fingerprinting

    @teacher123

    Could you forward me that email to a Covid email I set up? Or send a screenshot with your email blocked off? (I completely get not wanting to be associated or having the potential of anything floating around with your work email on it). Like I mentioned prior, I was there Wednesday and was fingerprinted. I never received any notification that the office was closed due to Covid and/or that I may be potentially exposed. I’d like my family to have access to any documentation of DCSD’s negligence if I contract and die from Covid.

    5
  48. Region 1 Teach

    We already have staff having to quarantine, and the concurrent teaching tech is trash.

    F2F advocates are going to hate what they’ve gotten themselves into as much as the staff does.

    16
  49. Space lasers are in the news

    @What were you thinking,

    I can’t find the post you are referring to, but I’m assuming the phrase, “Jewish space laser wielding deniers of reality” was referencing those like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who espoused amongst her other conspiracy theories that the California wild fires were started by space lasers owned by Jews, like Soros or the Rothschilds. She also think mask wearing is unnecessary and that the Parkland shooting was a false flag event. So, my assumption from that line was that the science denying (COVID doesn’t kill) is from those who might be equated with believing in the Jewish space lasers, not an anti-Semitic attack on the Jews wielding those fictitious lasers.

    4
  50. Veteran Teacher

    Parents: Here are a few things you need to know about the proposed return to in-school (aka “face-to-face”) learning:

    1. Teachers have been supplied LITTLE TO NO PPE OR DISINFECTING SUPPLIES. So your child’s classrooms will be as filthy and germ-laden as they were before virtual learning.
    2. Students in classrooms will be doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING that they were doing virtually: sitting at a desk using their chromebook to access Google Classroom and completing assignments on their own. The teacher will be anchored to the teacher desk, unable to move about the room to provide individual assistance.
    3. If a student in your child’s cohort tests positive for COVID-19, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR CHILD WILL BE NOTIIFIED.
    4. If a student in ANY of your child’s classes, including PE, Art, Music, Foreign Language etc., tests positive for COVID-19, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR CHILD WILL BE NOTIIFIED.
    5. If any of your child’s teachers tests positive for COVID-19, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR CHILD WILL BE NOTIIFIED.
    6. Students will not eat lunch in the cafeteria. They will eat in a small classroom with other students unmasked for 30 minutes.

    So please don’t buy into the charade that school will be “back to normal” once in-person school resumes. The Dekalb County School District has done next to nothing to prepare for a safe return to classrooms. Be careful what you wish for 🙁

    32
  51. The first criteria for reopening is low community spread. We shouldn’t even be discussing reopening until we meet that metric. And no one has answered my question on what upgrades have been made to hvac to prevent the spread. No answer = nothing.

    14
  52. waitingforgodot

    Fingerprinting,

    Today the AJC reported the closing of public safety. That email will be easy to get. Problem is that right now Dekalb can do this. Question is how long board members will pretend things are fine and how much longer the law will be stretched to allow this. I know I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that karma.

    Bethune middle closed today, too.

    Please share what you were told to do about your exposure. The superintendent is touting the science and claiming to do contact tracing. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that’s true and consistent.

    7
  53. Fingerprinting

    @waitingforgodot

    Thank you for the information. I immediately called the Public Safety office and was told the email their Lieutenant about my inquiry.

    1
  54. Dekalb has not notified teachers who recently had their fingerprints done. They were at school today clueless about possibly being exposed to Covid and spreading it to other staff at work and loved ones at home. Disaster! Dekalb is incompetent and the board is hiding away at home doing NOTHING. Those teachers should be told to quarantine ASAP!

    14
  55. No PPE in Dunwoody

    Anyone else not receive any ppe at their school? No masks, no cleaning supplies?

    11
  56. Pregnant Teacher

    I still haven’t heard back from ADA or FMLA and we’re testing kids in person- anyone hear back from ADA or FMLA yet?

    9
  57. Smoke Rise is closed for the next two weeks. Employees were told to quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile the number one cheerleader was visiting schools today touting social distancing and mitigation strategies.

    7
  58. Dekalb does NOT do contact tracing. I’ve been in the building all year and was not called when a co worker had covid. I was told by the co worker when they returned. And that was with a skeleton crew last semester. And I’m not the only person to experience this.

    11
  59. @Pregnant Teacher,
    I heard from the district about my ADA request on Monday. I made the request last September. My request for virtual was denied. I had chemotherapy last July but was told virtual will not be granted for employees working with children.

    11
  60. DSW2Contributor

    WABE radio – “DeKalb County Superintendent Shares The District’s COVID-19 Re-Opening Plan, With Teachers Now In Classrooms”:
    https://www.wabe.org/2036064-2/

    2
  61. @ No PPE in Dunwoody…I am in Region 5. At one of the schools on the video and no PPE was issued. Also today was the first day my trash was emptied. No one emptied the trash Wednesday or Thursday!

    6
  62. Back at School

    I am Region 5 also at one of the schools on the video bathrooms were nasty, we went two days without tissue in the restroom, 3 day with no heat and #1 Cheerleader said all the schools were ready well she lied and the people on the video lied . Schools need to stay close I don’t feel safe.

    13
  63. DSW2Contributor

    ADA REQUESTS: ^^^^@OverDCSD and ^^^^^^^ @PregnantTeacher – I am hearing that DCSD is *not* approving telecommuting or other accommodations for any employee whose job description involves in-person contact. Anyone who works in a school building is SOL. Sorry. 🙁

    I lack the vocabulary to adequately describe what I am seeing right now. It reminds me of the game of chicken, with CWH & HR in her DSCD-paid-for car and the employees who submitted ADA requests in a giant bus facing them. DCSD is not approving ADA requests while the teachers in the bus are all going to resign or retire if their ADA requests are not approved.

    So far, the car and the giant bus are just revving their engines. CWH is out trying to convince everyone that we’re ready for F2F, but she has not yet announced an actual date when students would come back. HR appears to be still allowing employees who submitted ADA requests to keep working from home — as far as I know, none of the employees still waiting for HR responses have been threatened with firing or other discipline for not reporting to their school building. The teachers in the other car have warned their Principals that they have their retirement papers filled out and resignation letters written ready to go, but none of them have actually gone thru with it yet.

    The Palace is requiring Principals to submit employee attendance lists each day, so I assume CWH’s decision making is being influenced by how many teachers are not reporting to their buildings.

    6
  64. Clinton Melton

    “HR appears to be still allowing employees who submitted ADA requests to keep working from home — as far as I know, none of the employees still waiting for HR responses have been threatened with firing or other discipline for not reporting to their school building. ”
    This is wrong! Employees were told to report to work while they await on their approval. Teachers are complaining that Principals are calling them at home to come to work. Some Principals are even allowing their croonies to remain remotely while others must come in. Friends and families in action!

    10
  65. DSW2Contributor

    ^ @ClintonMelton, Principals do not have the authority to fire or seriously discipline the employees at their school. Principals merely send recommendations up to their Regional Superintendent and HR — those offices decide what happens to employee.

    As you say, employees were told to report while awaiting their ADA approvals and I am sure Principals are pressuring teachers to come in, but as far as I know, HR has not actually disciplined anyone who has refused to come in.

    7
  66. Rocket Scientist

    Why are the higher ups being so secretive with the COVID exposures since we have been back in these filthy buildings? These buildings are not ready! I understand that some schools and the AIC are going to allow their employees to work virtually on Wednesdays so that they can thoroughly sanitize the buildings while others, like my school are not! That’s a great idea but why isn’t that instituted at every school in this district? That might help employees feel safer. Public safety, Bethune, Smoke Rise, Columbia Middle, Panola Way are just the few that I heard today that were forced to close. Why didn’t someone think to encourage the employees to get a COVID test before we returned to the buildings? They could have even partnered up with Viral Solutions or another agency to do the testing. The superintendent looks like a liar already! It appears that either they don’t care about us or they just don’t have anyone who can actually think and put a logical plan together that would be uniform across the board and keep employees safe. It just doesn’t take a rocket scientist!

    24
  67. @ Fingerprinting I don’t have a contact number but you’ll want to contact Lt. Parks in Public Safety. I PERSONALLY know one of the SROs working at the office and he informed me that one of the staffers indeed reported to work Wed, clearly sick, called in sick Thurs but didn’t report he was Covid positive until later that afternoon (he missed work on Mon & Tues due to sickness and was told Wed to take Thurs off bc he was obviously still sick). The SRO contacted me because he knew my neighbor was in the office on Wed getting a new ID badge and was asking if she’d told me they were being shut down again… I called her and she had NOT been contacted about being exposed!

    10
  68. @exposed, I work with people who were just in the office getting their fingerprints done and this week were in my school building. I was around the people. They should have been notified and in quarantine! I will sue if I get covid because Dekalb is obviously trying to cover up the Covid cases so Dekalb can looks like a “safe” place for children to return. Criminal negligence. Now we have a huge problem of employees being exposed at the fingerprinting office and then going into the school building exposing other teachers this week. What is the board going to do about this? Stay in hiding? Hope the problem will go away? People will sue for this complete incompetence and cover up. Some teachers are already talking about suing for being in unsafe situations.

    14
  69. Shakin' My Head

    DCSD is true to form. A school district work crew went from room to room in my building this week. They were removing and discarding dated equipment. This same crew has gone to several schools within a day and over the course of a week. How on earth is this safe? That’s a lot of potential exposure. Schools have been empty since March! DCSD could/should have scheduled this type of work when the number of staff present in the buildings was close to nil. So much for limiting the possibility of transmission. So much for mitigation strategies. Does not make much sense at all. This is exactly why many employees wanted to continue working from home. This is why we don’t have faith in admin’s decisions when it comes to this virus!

    (By the way, no designated entry/exit points or directional signs for routes of travel were posted in the building. There were trash cans in some rooms and halls to catch leaks. Signage was NOT six feet apart. Technology slow or not working for some of my colleagues. Told our students would be eating in the cafeteria. Really?!). And we are ready for students? I don’t think so!

    22
  70. Watson-Harris is a liar!

    A few things: 1. DeKalb is broke (unlike other districts) and teachers will have to use our own sick days from being unnecessarily exposed to COVID. I will not quarantine if I have to use my own sick time, period. 2: Other districts are actually trying to retain their teachers, so they’re offering on-site childcare specifically for teachers’ kids. That way, their teachers aren’t forced to take a leave of absence due to childcare issues, which makes sense due to a shortage of subs. What does DeKalb do? Bans our own children from the schools and sends out a flyer with terrible childcare options. 3. DeKalb is LYING about the number of COVID cases for staff and students. I know for a fact that several of my students have COVID right now, and several teachers at our school have had COVID. Admin was notified and so was the district. Those numbers that were released still have my school listed as “0” cases. Cheryl Watson-Harris has NO respect for teachers and she’s a liar. Since she likes the media so much, I can’t wait to anonymously send pictures to the AJC of the dirty building, lack of PPE, and lack of CDC-compliant protocols being used at my school. I will be on a mission to expose every single lie that comes out of her mouth. That will make working in this wretched county worthwhile.

    36
  71. DSW2Contributor

    Cobb County parents have a petition demanding Superintendent Chris Ragsdale resign:
    https://www.change.org/p/cobb-county-board-of-education-demand-superintendent-chris-ragsdale-resigns

    Ragsdale and two school board members (David Chastain and David Banks) refused to put on masks during a school board meeting even though kindergarten art teacher Patrick Key’s obituary pleaded for mask wearing:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-georgia-teachers-obituary-pleaded-for-mask-wearing-at-a-school-board-meeting-3-officials-refused/ar-BB1d7eOg

    11
  72. DSW2Contributor

    CBS-46 Reporter Jamie Kennedy has an email that the North Paulding HS Assistant Principal sent to teachers asking that athletes be given preferential seating to keep the athletes from getting COVID:
    https://twitter.com/Jamie_S_Kennedy/status/1357878925947461633

    North Paulding HS is the Cherokee County school that made national news in August when it suspended students for posting pictures of hallways packed with mask-less students:
    https://www.cbs46.com/news/north-paulding-hs-students-risk-punishment-for-exposing-covid-concerns/article_fcf853e4-d786-11ea-b4c4-931cf7377ff4.html

    6
  73. DSW2Contributor

    From Bill Fitzgerald:
    ————————————————————————————–
    We need to reopen schools.

    We need to reopen schools before more people realize that all the technology purchased with millions of taxpayer dollars to transform education doesn’t really work.

    We need to reopen schools because the school to prison pipeline won’t fill itself.

    We need to reopen schools because how else can affluent suburban families fully realize all the benefits of their heavily segregated enclaves without their children reaping the benefits of our inequitable educational system?

    We need to reopen schools because pundits with a platform and young children are really tired.

    We need to reopen schools because the College Board needs to push out some tests and boost those revenue numbers, otherwise people might realize that the tests aren’t necessary.

    We need to reopen schools so it will stop being obvious that many superintendents and principals have no idea how to use technology to educate.

    We need to reopen schools so teachers can get back to the important work of spending their own money on supplies, including food, for their students – because the same people who clutch their pearls about the importance of education clutch their wallets when it’s time to fund it.

    We need to reopen schools so things can start to get back to normal, and the impacts of our decades long failure to support public education for all students is less visible.

    https://twitter.com/funnymonkey/status/1358050508552851458

    25
  74. I teach in a building with no windows and poor ventilation. I was told by my doctor that I need to wear my mask at all times while in the building. Even though I am in my classroom alone, I still need to wear my mask.

    I don’t understand people. The CDC tells us not to be indoors with anyone you don’t live with. If you must, open doors and windows. For some reason, some seem to think that because the word school is written on the building, the virus doesn’t transmit.

    It isn’t about children not being spreaders. It’s about people being spreaders. Children are not the only people in the building. t am at high risk of contracting this virus because I am in a building where the virus is trapped and it will spread!

    25
  75. Ready to explode

    To everyone commenting about HR not threatening punishment for teaching virtually. Maybe I misunderstood what you mean but I have been out since Wednesday and received a message from the principal that I need to submit a statement of leave for those days and a doctor note is required after that. HR doesn’t need to do anything because principals are doing it for them. I won’t abandon my students but I am not teaching now nor am I grading assignments. I need to be treated as well as I am expected to treat everyone else. I am not well informed about other things going on but I know what I am experiencing and it is not pleasant. My son is trying to contact the media about my situation because my doctor wrote that Covid could cause my death and I have not heard from the palace or my number one cheerleader. So out I stay until my doctor permits me to return.

    16
  76. Let’s shoot’em up

    If you have not heard: a vaccine center in Elberton county was closed because they prioritized teachers for vaccine. The DPH took away the vaccines that were not scheduled for second shots. So now we know how important teachers are to the state of Georgia. I am not saying elderly people should be shortchanged but paying attention to teachers who are in schools that may be laden with the vaccine is crucial. First thing: tell Alabamans to get their vaccines in Alabama.

    13
  77. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ @ReadyToExplode, I don’t understand why you think you are being punished.

    You say you are not teaching nor are you grading assignments. If you are not doing any work for DCSD, then DCSD cannot possibly pay you because paying you for no work would violate the state constitution’s gratuities clause.

    2
  78. DSW2Contributor

    CBS-46 story from Thursday, February 4, 2021 – “Dekalb teachers say return to classrooms is life or death choice”
    https://www.cbs46.com/news/dekalb-teachers-say-return-to-classrooms-is-life-or-death-choice/article_165eb096-6759-11eb-9034-9b59dedaf181.html

    4
  79. Ready to explode

    Contributed: I didn’t say I was being punished. I also don’t work without being compensated. It’s bad enough that we are told that we are contracted for 8 hours per day but we should be prepared to work longer hours because our planning time is filled with meetings. What I was trying to say is that principals are carrying water for HR and are the first step in consequences. But all of this is besides the point. The main issue is the hypocrisy of the superintendent in crying crocodile tears for our “scholars “ who are not in school while not caring that teachers who can’t or won’t subject themselves and their families to a serious medical situation are willing and able to teach but are prohibited from doing so by the cheerleader herself. If you wrote a book with this plot everyone would say that it was inconceivable that educational leaders would be so uncaring and incompetent.

    21
  80. After this week I’ve been unable to talk all weekend due to a sore throat. In the building I’m unable to adequately hydrate, and this is only going to get worse when kids are in the building and I can’t unmask in my classroom to drink.

    13
  81. Safety concerns

    @Teach,

    I’m sort of glad I’m not the only one. I’ve been talking louder so that students can hear me with the mask, so that might be why I have a sore throat. I couldn’t have gotten exposed and developed symptoms that quickly, could I? And I’m the only one leaving my home and have no outside contact but the school building.

    13
  82. Hindsight is 20/20.

    The funny thing is that Covid numbers are going down. Today’s report is 9.1% positivity rate and 435 cases per 100000 in two weeks. Had our number one cheerleader not been so stupid she should have waited to see the direction the numbers were going and only when they reached today’s figures should have started the process. She upset so many teachers and many children are not doing face to face because of the hysteria. She released a genie that will not go back in the bottle. Furthermore fewer teachers would have requested accommodations because the need would not be so severe. Now, DCSD is further tarnished by the choices she made and the total cowardice of the board in not reining her in. They had made such poor choices of superintendent in the past , they are likely terrified that another superintendent gone would seriously limit the number of candidates going forward. Perhaps race should not be a consideration for the job. Just saying. I am sure that there are numerous Asians, Latinos, and (gasp) even Whites who would have wanted the position and would have succeeded. We’ll never know.

    13
  83. It’s my $$$

    I just read that the $1000 promised by the governor will be taken by the county and not distributed to school personnel. Is that true? Is that legal? Can something be done to change that?

    14
  84. @It’smy$: Yes, and if you have been in DCSD long enough, you might remember that this is not the first time. They will probably use the excuse that our half step is that 1,000 bonus, as they did for another state bonus a few years ago. Just like with the CARES money that was not used properly, as there are never any strings attached, the counties can do what they want. As for the this bonus, it makes Kemp look good, but we will never see a dime. It’s the usual: good PR, no substance.

    15
  85. https://www.wrdw.com/2021/01/14/kemp-reveals-1000-bonus-for-georgia-school-employees/

    According to this report, “The funds will be allocated to school districts and must be spent on the bonus payments.”

    8
  86. waitingforgodot

    Hindsight,

    Where are you seeing 9.1%?

    For the GA DPH 1/14-1/27 rate is 11.6%.

    According to DCPH, Dekalb County had an increase of 431 cases, a +.9% increase between the last report on February 1 and February 3 and 16 additional deaths between February 1 and 3.

    Yesterday was the deadliest day in Georgia, when 179 people lost their lives to Covid-19.

    3
  87. DSW2Contributor

    Georgia DPH Covid Data for Dekalb County, February 7, 2021:

    Cases (last 2 weeks): 3,346
    Cases per 100K (last 2 weeks): 422
    Cases per 100K (total): 6097

    Confirmed Cases (today): 123
    7-Day Moving Average: 181

    % PCR Tests Positive: 7.3
    7-Day Moving Average: 8.8

  88. DSW2Contributor

    A January 30, 2021 article in the Washington Post:

    While Biden pushes to reopen schools, Europe moves in the opposite direction

    As President Biden pushes to reopen U.S. schools, much of Europe is moving in the opposite direction.

    From Britain to Portugal to Denmark to Austria, countries that previously prioritized keeping classrooms open at nearly any cost are saying the risks are too high. Some say it may be months before students can again see their teachers in person.

    The changed calculus reflects the arrival of the more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain, that has created astonishing spikes in cases and put pressure on medical systems across the continent.

    The basic scientific thinking in Europe on schools remains largely the same. When students and teachers wear masks, ventilation is good and mixing between classes is minimized, classrooms are still believed to be relatively safe and to play a small role in fueling outbreaks, compared with places such as nursing homes, prisons, food-processing plants, restaurants and bars.

    But the variant has increased the threat everywhere, including in schools.

    “By themselves, schools are not the main problem, but it makes sense to close them when the numbers are so high that anything can have an impact on the health system as a whole,” said Celso Cunha, director of the medical microbiology unit at Nova University of Lisbon’s Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/coronavirus-schools-uk-variant-europe/2021/01/29/c4e73d78-5f2e-11eb-a177-7765f29a9524_story.html

    6
  89. Hindsight is 20/20

    I go on the DPH website every day and that where I got the information. The problem is that just like our number one cheerleader, statistics lie.

    5
  90. DSW2Contributor

    Today’s (February 8) Board Meeting is going to be epic.

    CWH previously promised to announce school reopening dates at board meetings. The Georgia DPH data for February 7 says Dekalb’s % Positive for last two weeks is 9.1% which is less than the 10% threshold that CWH previously said was necessary to consider reopening, so I assume that CWH really wants to announce student return dates today…. but President Biden threw a wrench into any plan that calls for an immediate reopening:
    —————————————————–
    “I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely,” Pres. Biden tells @NorahODonnell.

    In addition to smaller class sizes and reworked ventilation, Pres. Biden says CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is going to lay out the minimum requirements for reopening as early as Wednesday.
    https://twitter.com/CBSEveningNews/status/1358534852837015556
    —————————————————–

    The responsible way forward would be to wait a few days to see what the new CDC “minimum requirements for reopening” are, then spend another few days determining which DCSD schools can meet CDC’s new “minimum requirements for reopening”, then hold a called board meeting to discuss how DCSD is reopening.

    18
  91. I just spoke to an EEOC attorney. He suggested we have an attorney contact the palace and let them know that teachers will file with EEOC and/or file a lawsuit especially those who have not heard at all ( the last is my interpretation). Even if you have been denied you might have a case due to ADA rules if you have documentation (again my thoughts). Does anyone have a lawyer who will write a letter for us without charge. Some of us are already losing enough money.

    7
  92. Rumor:
    Can anyone verify?
    Ga State Uni has secured Covid vaccine for their practicum and intern students regardless of age.

    2
  93. Region 1 Teacher

    Is anyone watching the Board meeting? The superintendent is telling lie after lie after lie about the state of readiness to return to in-person learning. https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv/

    14
  94. My son tested positive for Covid 19 on Sunday. He hardly goes anywhere and always wears a mask. He is a senior at Tucker High School. We think he may have gotten it from my two year old granddaughter who had doctor and dentist appointments that led to her having high fever and cold like symptoms and fatigue for several days. She was taken to Egleston Children’s Hospital and they did not test her for Covid. They said she did not have the symptoms of Covid! Both of her brothers that attend Browns Mill elementary also got sick. My son had sore throat, headache, muscle aches and high fever for several days that started two weeks after my granddaughter’s illness. I took him to be tested Sunday because we realized that he could not smell anything Saturday night. My entire family is now waiting for test results. Children are getting sick and making other people sick even outside of school. I can only imagine the cases we will see if the children go back into the schools right now.

    23
  95. Lie after Lie is No Surprise

    Gimme a L, gimme an I, gimme an E,
    What’s that spell?

    21

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