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.

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

  1. It’s In the Air

    6. Building ventilation – DCSD frequently monitors schoolhouses and facilities for proper ventilation. We have increased ventilation and filtration in our HVAC units to meet the guidance of CDC and industry to the extent possible in each of our units.

    To The Extent Possible ….. this troubles me.

  2. Dedicated 30 Years

    @ForTheRecord, her husband is running the school district while she catches up to him and his ‘superintendency’, for which there is no record. I don’t think being a supt./CEO of a charter school organization really counts. This lady will be out of here in a hot second to go back to Boston, NY, or wherever she and her husband tag-team for profit. She is allowing the old heads of DCSD to run everything while she plans her next step up. DCSD means nothing to her. Tinsley finally had enough years to retire…now we have to just wait-out Stepney, Bodison, Lewis, Weaver, Jones, Moore-Sanders (who likes to call Black babies pica-ninnies in open leadership meetings) and the rest of the dead weight. They should have already applied for retirement (fingers crossed); and then maybe…just maybe DeKalb can get some forward-thinking, intelligent people concerned about CHILDREN’s well-being into position. There is a new order of educating children; and these people are not up for the job. They’ve had almost a year to plan for this.

  3. Was there a state of the district hoo-ha yesterday? I can’t find anything about it other than that will happen? Did it? Anything new and truthful discussed?

  4. No equity. Not a surprise. When the cheerleader took time away from education to have a webinar on black lives matter I knew something was up. She is a disgrace to education in dekalb county and that is saying something. Since no one in authority will stand up to her it may be time to leave the sinking ship. Retire or get a job in a different county. It will not get better until the board grows a collective spine and takes her power away. She has already violated ada and heaven knows what else. Get out before you regret your decision to stay.


    It should come as no surprise at all that Dekalb County School System is once again up to its ass in alligators. Golly gee but The Palace can pick some winners. DCSS is not able to make the schools safe from Covid and that is a fact. Far too many years have passed by while the school buildings were ignored and DCSS wasted tax payers money on pompous asses for administrators and lawsuits and worthless training and the list could go on into infinity. Too much attention was made to hiring everybody with a sorority or fraternal connection and what do we have now? The great teachers have all left or intend to. It is a disaster but it is not politically correct to voice it publicly. The smartest move would be to clean house figuratively and literally and just start over.

  6. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^ @Curious – “Was there a state of the district hoo-ha yesterday?”
    No there wasn’t.

    CWH’s “State of the District” addresss is TOMORROW, Tuesday, February 23. It is a Drive-In event at the parking lot at 4550 Greer Circle – the parking lot opens at 4:15 p.m. and the program will begin at 5:30 p.m.:

  7. Not surprised at all

    There was a robo call earlier today letting people know that they will be streaming the state of the district event due to limited parking spaces and to ensure safe distancing. As of right now, no news flash was sent to employees emails.

  8. Alison A Mercer

    I am a Substitute, and didn’t receive a robo message about today’s meeting. How and when might I virtually participate?


    CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Clayton County school employees will have some extra cash in their wallets thanks to a new bonus.

    The $2,000 pandemic bonus was approved by the board of education meeting Monday night.

    The bonuses are expected to be paid out by March 31.

  10. I just want the state bonus at this point. Any news on that?

  11. I have no plan to watch the state of the lies report today. There is only so much anger that I can handle now. I hope someone doing better will report the lowlites of the report from the cheerleader and her regional minions. Thank you in advance.

  12. What is fact or fiction

    Someone please let me know if this is true and why all schools in Dekalb don’t release this information.
    “DCSD is now allowing/going back to flexibility for the work location for instructional staff on Wednesdays. “

  13. DSW2Contributor

    On Twitter:
    DCSD is pleased to announce that we will begin to safely reopen schools on March 9, 2021. Thank you to our staff for their commitment in preparing for a safe return to the classroom. Learn more: #iLoveDCSD

  14. DSW2Contributor

    DeKalb County School District Announces Return Date for Students
    Students Will Be Returning in Phases Beginning March 9th

    DEKALB COUNTY, GA – At tonight’s “State of the District” address, DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will announce their plans for students to begin returning to classrooms under Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. In Phase Two and Phase Three, cohorts of students will participate in hybrid, in-person learning based on their choice to attend school. Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, sixth grade, and ninth-grade students will begin in-person learning on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Grade levels third, fourth, fifth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth will start on Monday, March 15, 2021, during Phase Three.

    “I am excited about the return to face-to-face instruction,” Superintendent Watson-Harris said. “This has been a tough, but necessary decision. We will continue to make the safety of our scholars and staff our number one priority and soar together.”

    Schools will organize all classes into two cohorts based on last name and/or instructional program to adhere to social/physical distancing requirements, facilitate testing and contract tracing, and minimize transmission across cohorts.

    “Superintendent Watson-Harris will effectively outline the impact of COVID-19 as well as the goals of the district,” said DeKalb Board of Education Chair Mrs. Vickie Turner. “I am grateful for the very diligent and thoughtful work that has been demonstrated by this staff along with the leadership team. It goes without question, virtual learning has presented some serious challenges to our students, our families and our staff. The Superintendent is to be commended for facing those challenges head on and coming up with viable solutions that will ultimately benefit our students. As we move forward with the hybrid plan and re-opening of schools, we will follow every evidence-based recommendation to keep our teachers and students safe.”

    “Superintendent Watson-Harris has worked tirelessly to lead the school district through the pandemic and continues to improve the District,” said DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. “DeKalb Government supports her efforts to eliminate barriers to success so that our students will continue to excel.”

    More information on our reopening plan can be found at To watch the State of District event-themed “Elevating the DCSD experience to a new standard of excellence” click here

  15. Maybe they need a proofreader?? Seventh and Eighth grade do not return?

  16. DSW2Contributor

    Sorry Middle School Principals, the article has been corrected:

    DeKalb County School District Announces Return Date for Students
    Students Will Be Returning in Phases Beginning March 9th

    DEKALB COUNTY, GA – At tonight’s “State of the District” address, DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will announce their plans for students to begin returning to classrooms under Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. In Phase Two and Phase Three, cohorts of students will participate in hybrid, in-person learning based on their choice to attend school. Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, sixth grade, and ninth-grade students will begin in-person learning on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Grade levels third, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth will start on Monday, March 15, 2021, during Phase Three.

    “I am excited about the return to face-to-face instruction,” Superintendent Watson-Harris said. “This has been a tough, but necessary decision. We will continue to make the safety of our scholars and staff our number one priority and soar together.”

    Schools will organize all classes into two cohorts based on last name and/or instructional program to adhere to social/physical distancing requirements, facilitate testing and contact tracing, and minimize transmission across cohorts.

    “Superintendent Watson-Harris will effectively outline the impact of COVID-19 as well as the goals of the district,” said DeKalb Board of Education Chair Mrs. Vickie Turner. “I am grateful for the very diligent and thoughtful work that has been demonstrated by this staff along with the leadership team. It goes without question, virtual learning has presented some serious challenges to our students, our families and our staff. The Superintendent is to be commended for facing those challenges head on and coming up with viable solutions that will ultimately benefit our students. As we move forward with the hybrid plan and re-opening of schools, we will follow every evidence-based recommendation to keep our teachers and students safe.”

    “Superintendent Watson-Harris has worked tirelessly to lead the school district through the pandemic and continues to improve the District,” said DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. “DeKalb Government supports her efforts to eliminate barriers to success so that our students will continue to excel.”

    More information on our reopening plan can be found at

    To watch the State of District event-themed “Elevating the DCSD experience to a new standard of excellence” click here

  17. DSW2Contributor

    Was anyone able to watch Cheerleader on DSTV?

  18. Not able to watch it

    @DSW2Contributor I tried but DSTV wouldn’t load for me. It was working at the beginning before the program started, but I guess when they went live it shut off.

  19. DSW2Contributor

    It just came back up for me, in time to show two masked dancers. Then it cut to a singer and then a band of children, none of whom were wearing wearing masks — WTF? Now cheerleader is talking without a mask and someone (Vickie Turner?) was sitting next to her, maskless, but that person disappeared as I was typing this.

  20. DSW2Contributor

    I like CWH’s speech so far and she is saying many of the right things, but I am surprised by how the audio system is really bringing out her New Yawker tawk. She usually does a much better job of covering up her accent.

  21. Of course she’s “saying” the right things. Full of BS about transparency.

  22. Gotta get over this

    What do you like about what she is saying? BTW. Don’t you just love all the praise being heaped on her “successful “ reopening of schools?

  23. DSW2Contributor

    When CWH ended her speech, the video briefly showed the entire stage — five female DCSD leaders were standing there side by side, none of them wearing masks. At least one had a mask in their hand.


  24. waitingforgodot

    That address was bizarre. It’s as if there is no Covid-19.

    Still can’t understand how any parent aware of facts is comfortable sending their child to a Dekalb school right now.

    At least no one can pretend they didn’t know.

  25. DCSD Get Ready For The Circus!

    They’ve really screwed teachers over!

    This will be a nightmare especially at an elementary level. In March (And again after spring break) teachers will be spending so much time teaching routines and rituals as well as mitigation strategies. Think beginning of the school year stuff plus Covid related items. Access testing will be happening as well. April will be filled with GA Milestones testing and remediation. Non homeroom teachers may be asked to administer or proctor GA milestones which may result in some non testing grade level students to not receive certain services (esol, eip, sped). And May will be filled with the chaos of trying to end the school year with whatever approved end of school year activities are allowed. Teachers were already stressed and burdened by the workload they already had. It will not surprise me if more teachers decide to go on FMLA leave, use some of their own sick days (personally I have almost 2 months worth of time), or quit altogether. I hope y’all are ready for the circus because it’s coming to a town near you!

  26. @What is fact or fiction,
    It’s true that Wednesdays are considered a flexibility day to work remotely. However, if testing is scheduled for a Wednesday, then you would have to be in the building. The principals were sent an email on 02/19/21. They were supposed to communicate this information to the staff.

  27. Teachers Are Supported! Really?

    It saddens me that DCSD can figure out a date for students to return to school, but I am still waiting for a decision regarding my ADA. It will be the end of the school year before we hear anything. Was this the plan from the beginning.?

  28. Don’t be fooled

    Of course it was planned that way and it’s against the law. By the way, doesn’t she get paid enough to buy another suit?

  29. Did anyone inform COVID-19 (you know…the deadly virus) to stop spreading, and mutating, and killing people, so it can allow everyone to go back to normality? Did we obtain permission from “The Corona” before deciding to return to face-to-face or hybrid learning? Where is the hazard pay?

  30. Since the governor and CWH can’t get it together, we’re driving to Alabama to get vaccinated. They have a site that lets teachers sign up. Apparently, Alabama values educators and what we do more than Georgia and DeKalb County Schools. Don’t let these kids and their families get you sick or cause you to have lasting health problems. Some of these parents don’t care who gets sick as long as they can get rid of their children for a few hours. Sign up to get vaccinated in Alabama. Best of luck to everyone.

  31. Can we surgically remove Allyson Gevertz’ lips from CWH’s butt? Her gushing posts and emails about CWH’s untruths and exaggerations show that she will not hold the woman accountable until it is too late.

    We’ll be in the same mess as always. Superintendents running amok and leaving the district worse than when they were hired.

  32. Is anyone else getting the runaround about getting an FMLA Leave approved? For example, “We never received the fax” when your doctor is very responsible and capable of faxing a form they complete on a regular basis. Are they asking about the dates? Asking for it to be emailed as well as faxed when the form says fax? Telling you they will contact you in 5 days when time is critical? Asking for clarification about your ailment? It’s been very shady dealing with that department and I’m wondering if it could be illegal behavior. Anyone else having this problem? I want to make sure I’m not the only one.

  33. @FMLA,
    You are not alone with FMLA issues. I have a coworker that’s getting the same runaround since 02/04. As of today the employee paperwork is still being process with zero answers in sight.

  34. I am a teacher and deserve respect

    I also got the same message. When I read all the hoops I needed to jump through I decided it was not worth it because they would figure out more obstacles to delay and I would be back in school by then. I may be the bravest or the stupidest here but I began the official process of filing a complaint with EEOC about how the ADA issue is being handled. I was told that I have a case and I need to make an appointment with an investigator. I am not doing this lightly but the more I learn about the cheerleader the more I realize she needs to be stopped. Since the board won’t do it, I guess I will. I am saying this to encourage those of you who have ADA issues that comport with the regulations to consider filing a complaint as well. It does not bother me to do anything by myself. I think the more complaints the better it will be for everyone who has a legitimate problem. I consider this action my first step in reclaiming my professional dignity.

    For anyone interested: EEOC has an 800 number listed online.

  35. Thank you @overDCSD. I thought I was being harassed, but I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting. Maybe more people will post about it and the board can look into threats against teachers taking FMLA with a doctor’s excuse. I think they are threatening my doctor now. I’m beyond embarrassed that they are going to bully my doctor about his FMLA recommendation. It’s really creepy communicating with that department. Dekalb, embarrassing is all I have to say (well, unprofessional too).

  36. @ Gofund Me?

    Good luck with Gevertz. She’s a starfucker from way back! But she’s not interested in having sex with those in power. She just wants to be CLOSE to the power, you know, rub up against it. Perhaps it’s a form of psychological frottage. Her shrink should be consulted.

    For a good laugh, go back and watch some of the BOE meetings when Green was superintendent. Gevertz regularly showed up to kiss his ass during citizen comments time, which she continued when she obtained her BOE seat. With Super Watson-Harris, I used to wonder if Gevertz was sucking up because she voted to hire Super Watson-Harris and was trying to ensure Super had a good pubic (oops, public) appearance, but I think not. Gevertz would plant her lips securely around the teat of whoever is superintendent.

    But when all is said and done, Gevertz truly only gives a damn about what goes on at DSA because her child attends there. I remember a particular BOE meeting when Green was superintendent. Gevertz initiated a discussion about DSA, which was/is not a school within her district. It was in the district of the bowtie-wearing-man-who-had-been-BOE-chairman (I forget his name right now). Go back and watch that meeting. He took great umbrage at her interference and let it be known by facial expression, body movement, and verbal response. She backed down, which she always does when confronted – Dr. Morley caused her to exhibit that behavior at a recent BOE meeting – and then tries to stab the person in the back – which Morley also called her out for at the same meeting. Yep, throw a rock, hide a hand, but never at the one in power. That’s Gevertz.

    And speaking of DSA, why is it still being funded? Perhaps it had a role to play YEARS ago, but not now.
    Here’s an idea: Instead of just sending eighth grade from DSA to DESA, why not combine DESA and DSA into one school at the DESA location? There’s ample room. Just think of how much money could be saved! Gevertz would probably be upset, but don’t worry about her. She can get succor from one of Super Watson-Harris’ teats. She’s on one of them right now!

    Why does that make me think about Milk Duds?

    Peace! Out!

  37. Henri P de Vastey

    Marietta City Schools did a good thing for the children. They had the courage to let the CDC in their elementary schools to do a Covid-19 study.
    The results will be of interest to parents because they suggest teacher-to-students transmission may be the cause of about 50% of school associated Covid-19 cases.

    “…..The researchers found that nine clusters of three or more epidemiologically linked COVID-19 cases were identified involving 13 educators and 32 students at six of the eight elementary schools in the school district.

    Two clusters involved probable educator-to-educator transmission that was followed by educator-to-student transmission and “resulted in approximately one half (15 of 31) of school-associated cases,’’ the study reported…”…/cdc-study-covid…/

  38. Aw Humpty…Bless your heart!
    I’d use your posts in class as examples of what’s wrong with social media but I’d likely be fired.

  39. Does anyone know when DCSD’s COVID numbers are updated? I have 3 kids in my class with COVID and my school’s numbers aren’t updated. It would be nice for staff and parents to have current numbers so we can make informed decisions about our health. Those numbers should be updated daily.

  40. Few Will Return

    Dekalb will be surprised at how few students return for face to face Covid instruction.

  41. I wonder if even fewer teachers will return next year.

  42. DSW2Contributor

    11 Alive:
    Columbia Middle School custodian dies, district confirms
    Benny Lee Doe worked as a custodian at Columbia Middle School for nearly five years.

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A custodian for the DeKalb County School District has died, the district confirmed.

    A spokesperson for the district said it sends its condolences to the family of Benny Lee Doe, who they said worked as a custodian at Columbia Middle School for nearly five years.

    “He represented the role in an exemplary manner,” the district said in a statement to 11Alive. “His family is in the thoughts and prayers of DCSD.”

    11Alive asked whether the death was related to COVID-19, but the district did not say.

    On Tuesday, the district announced plans for students to return to the classroom. Teachers and staff, meanwhile, have already returned to the buildings.

  43. Don't Need To Reopen Schools

    Just read article on about Dekalb Board eyes reopening amid puch for teachers vaccination. One parent said in the article that her daughter was happy about returning to school because she is ready to do her work without being in front of a computer screen. Do parents not understand that when students return to school that they will still be sitting in there desk looking at a computer screen because teachers will not be helping there students one on one because we have to stay 6 feet apart. There will be no eating in the classroom and have scheduled bathrooms breaks. So to the parents schools will not operate like they normally do.

  44. When did Dr. Campbell get confirmed to be the Region 4 Supt and if she has been confirmed, why is Dr. Jones still Interim Human Resources? Will she be moved to a new position once they found a true HR leader?

  45. Hello board, do you realize other counties are giving their teachers the $1000 promised to them in their next paycheck? Can you explain why Dekalb is ghosting us about the $1000? When will CWH finally cross the line for you to do something? When will enough be enough? How low are you willing to go? How many teachers are you willing to lose? And, I’m still having problems with the FMLA person trying to prevent me from taking a legitimate FMLA leave. Dekalb is corrupt and the board looks the other way. Hello, it’s your job to do the checks and balance with CWH. How much corruption do you need to witness before you declare it a crime?? It’s literally your job to check the budget and watch her.

  46. Board members, please investigate the FMLA department. That woman is committing fraud. If you do nothing, we will go to the news with our stories. There is definite fraud going on. Teachers are contacting lawyers. Do something now before it get ugly. I’m giving you a heads up. A lot of us have been bullied by the FMLA lady. The community will know what DeKalb is doing to teachers if you don’t investigate her ASAP.

  47. Can you be more specific about the FMLA fraud and the $1000?

  48. Since the district only cares about testing, let’s practice.
    Dekalb: a) was not contacted. b) still doesn’t have a plan. c) both a and b

    I’ll guess C, but I’m not sure. ‍♂️

  49. Does the board have access to the FMLA person’s emails? It’s all there. I’m not the only one having the problem. If I give you specific information they may know who I am. I think she violated my HIPPA rights as well. If it’s not resolved in a few days, I’m contacting PAGE and then going from there. Just read through her emails if you have access to them.

    The $1000 is the money Kemp promised teachers. It’s supposed to go to us in February.

  50. waitingforgodot


    The Governor announced a $1000 one-time bonus for state employees, including teachers. However, Dekalb controls that $1000, so as you probably remember from your time on the board, the district can choose to keep all or some of this money.

    Not sure about FMLA fraud. The responses and non-responses to the 3,000 FMLA and ADA requests would probably reflect anything from ineptitude and poor communication to more serious legal issues like confidentiality breaches and blatant disregard of law. Like all things in this school district, time and news stories will tell.

  51. In a little over a week, students are supposed to return to school. I am wondering will there be enough staff in the schools to meet the needs of the students? How many students are planning to return? Also, are teachers getting any support and training on how to teach both virtually and face-to-face at the same time?

  52. Interesting. What is the board saying about the bonuses?

  53. Everyone has access to the FMLA’s person’s email. You just have to ask for it.

  54. Someone needs to investigate what’s going on in the FMLA department. It’s like the woman is making it impossible to get FMLA, talking to doctors about matters that are none of her business, possibly violating HIPPA. Reading her emails should shed some light to the board about what she is doing. Something shady is going on in that department. I feel like she is keeping me in Dekalb as a prisoner. We have the right to go on an FMLA leave. It’s a law to protect employees.

  55. Enough already

    Many laws have been violated. To me, because it involves my issues, is the ADA law. No response and no willingness to communicate with teachers is the basic concept. I applied for FMLA but when I got the response with all the threats and information about what I would be required to do for zero benefits I decided to pass. I ,too, do not want to give too much information, but let it suffice that they are doing everything possible to prevent giving leave. I suspect they are sure that teachers will back down from threats to resign. I think they are in for a surprise. Also I think they will have a hard time getting the best teachers to work in Dekalb. More so if our $1000 bonus is converted into something for the county and not teachers. BTW I asked about the bonuses and was told to contact a PAGE attorney if we don’t get them because they are specifically earmarked for teachers.
    Last thought: if you really are angry about these issues please say something to the correct people. Do something to help make a change. I read the same old stuff all the time in this blog but rarely see or hear of any meaningful action taken. If I am incorrect I apologize but since we are all able to be anonymous let the group know more is being done than complaining or checking the raised thumb at the end of the complaint or comment. Let’s take these people down!!

  56. How did they violate the ADA law?

  57. They are threatening teachers by sending them resignation papers who ask for leave. I have heard that. Board needs to step in. PAGE will be contacted and some are talking about being whistle blowers on the news. This is a serious situation. We are not just complaining. Dekalb needs to correct their mistakes now or lawyers and the news are getting involved. Many people are angry about the way we are being treated. Our doctors can back us up in court if needed. They are mad at Dekalb for treating us like dirt. We want to know when we will get the $1000. Other counties are giving the teachers the money soon.

  58. Please forward me any email of anybody who asked for leave and was sent resignation papers.

  59. People may want to stay anonymous? Not sure if they will. If you read here and feel comfortable, send your emails to Stan. I’m giving the FMLA person a few days and if she still harasses me about taking my FMLA, I’m contacting PAGE and then I might send you my emails. The FMLA lady is causing me a lot of stress and anguish.

    This site has good information. They say to contact a lawyer if you think your rights have been violated (I use PAGE) and that employers try to get away with not giving you FMLA if they think you will give up or if you don’t know your rights:

  60. No, parents don’t understand that their students will still be working from a computer screen. We’ve been telling them that for months, but they didn’t listen to teachers—they never do. We’ve been prohibited from even using the copy machines for student work because ink and paper aren’t in the budget. So, there’s that. I’ve also gotten the run-around about my FMLA. The county is making it virtually impossible for us to take FMLA, which is a federal mandate. If I’m willing to go months without a paycheck to protect myself and my family, then DeKalb shouldn’t be hindering that process. They’re not paying me a dime. When I ask questions, I can’t even get a straightforward answer on how to proceed. I’ve pretty much given up, and I’ll let the chips fall where they may. I can’t continue to put energy towards figuring out DeKalb’s craziness.

  61. I don’t think the $1000 bonus allocation has been made to the counties yet.
    It was voted on at a February 18th state Board of education meeting.
    It stated that the money must be used for bonuses only.
    It is a mid year budget adjustment using CARES II money.
    Concerning HR in Dekalb, they DO NOT have qualified people running that department.
    They should be very careful what they put it writing. I don’t think the FMLA woman has the appropriate background to bettering people information or making decisions.
    We also need to be paid our stipend for our professional learning institute at the beginning of January. Radio silence on that as well. I asked our principal and region super and they don’t know any info. That does not warm my financial heart.

  62. The “lawyers dot com” site was understandably skewed towards “you might be a litigant if…” but it turns out that the Department of Labor site ( is straightforward and likely authoritative:
    Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

    1. The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
    2. To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    3. For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or
    4. For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

    Though “serious” isn’t clearly defined, NOLO ( and offers a negative definition in the same vein as “you might be a litigant if…”. The DoL site gives clear guidance on eligibility and it is pretty clear that “I fear I may get ill” is not a compelling reason though “I am so ill I cannot fulfill my (contracted) responsibilities” is compelling. There are special rules for local education ( but these are largely around taking leave at end of term and reinstatement and job equivalency.

    IANAL but it seems that someone who does not clearly meet one or more of the DoL criteria is not entitled to FMLA. With regards to CoVid19, *having* a case of CoVid requiring (three or more days of) in-patient treatment certainly qualifies, asymptomatic cases probably do not and those in between (e.g., I feel really, really ill or my MD told me to get bed rest) are likely covered under non-FMLA sick leave. Fear of CoVid probably doesn’t register.

    So, if DCSD should be held to account (and they should) for incorrectly denying FMLA should they not also be held to account for ignoring the rules for the benefit of a vocal group?

  63. Don't Make Sense

    Everyone need to reach out to Dr. Joyce Morley she seems to be the only one that have teacherd and staff backs and the only board member that speaks up at the board meeting she needs to know so she can call these people out.

  64. @FMLA…. can you contact PAGE or another group who represents you? There are many of us who are having our FMLA rights being violated. Lawyers are going to have to get involved at this point.

    Stan, can you make a new post for possible FMLA, ADA violations, stipend for January training and about the $1000 teacher bonus? Can you look into the qualifications of the person in charge of FMLA or ask a board member to? Her first name begins with a P. Like another person posted, the person in charge of FMLA is not qualified or not following the law. I’m certain she violated my HIPPA rights and it’s all the email communication we have been having. She lies constantly too. She’s very shady. Dekalb may have legal ramifications from this.

    I believe CWH should be communicating about our bonus. Other counties are already giving out the bonus. She’s being too quiet for my comfort. She can’t be trusted with money it seems.

    Thank you.

  65. Stan,

    I don’t want to attach my name because of fear of retaliation, but I can tell you my situation with ADA and FMLA. I heard Ms. Watson-Harris tell us to apply for ADA or FMLA leave if we are at risk. I started with ADA. After a couple of months, I received accommodations. One provision was to work remotely until students return. As February 3 approached, we were told no one works from home. When I questioned this with my accommodations, I was told I had to report, and then later that provision of my accommodation was removed. I applied for FMLA. My doctor told me that he could not complete the paperwork as written, because I was not going through something that prevented me from work but was just in danger if I contracted COVID. He sent a letter in lieu of the form reiterating that I should be working from home. I was denied FMLA for not having the doctor documentation complete. In the denial email, I was given a link to the resignation form. If you would like, I can share a screen shot that leaves my name out.

    I’m hopeful about being better protected with a vaccination. I will try to make my class as safe for the students returning and to protect my own family members from transmission that might still happen since they must wait on vaccination. I’m just still reeling from the disconnect from the Superintendent’s message and what is actually happening with HR. Thank you for staying concerned about teachers.

  66. Enough already

    Violation of ADA according to the PAGE lawyer and the person from EEOC who did my intake. They are supposed to offer accommodations , but I am still waiting for anything other than we lost your form. Send it again. And then we got your second form. And then crickets. EEOC does not take all complaints but they took mine with that information and when I told them I can’t take anymore of this from the county they told me to include that in my complaint as well. Bottom line the cannot ignore an ADA request. They must respond and try to effect a compromise. Non of that was done for me and my doctor wrote that Covid could be deadly for me in particular. And still they don’t contact me. I suspect they are doing what we joke about teachers doing. They threw the applications down the stairs and the ones on the bottom got looked at.

    If you believe you have a case contact EEOC first before a lawyer. That was PAGE advice.

  67. ADA and FMLA: I don’t believe there is a disconnect at all. Either there is a mutiny in her ranks or she tells us whatever we want to hear and gives the opposite instructions to the staff. This is planned however you view it. This county is poison to everyone unless you are tight with the powers that be. I have had a miserable year with many parts of dekalb. The latest has to do with property taxes. I got an exemption but they didn’t inform my bank that pays taxes and insurance. Now I have to sit on the phone with the bank’s voicemails until someone picks up an hour or so later. Sherman may have had a good idea. Burn this sucker down and start from scratch.

  68. @enough already- FMLA lady tried to pull that with me too. She kept saying she never got my doctor’s fax. So I emailed the FMLA form to her and she freaked out and went off on me in the email about if I’m so sick why am I currently at work. It was really crazy and unprofessional. It’s all in an email though. Evidence, thank you Jesus. She then continued to harass my doctor about my dates and demanded my doctor change the date of my FMLA to begin a few weeks earlier. She’s either incompetent or not qualified. Does she understand HIPPA violations and the consequences??

  69. Enough already

    @FMLA. I think they have a attitude of holier than holy and can do as they please. Remember up to now no one has stopped them. Evil people will keep on doing their evil until someone stops them. Unfortunately they don’t realize the evil they do with regard to teachers well-being. I also believe that there will be payback eventually and not by any of us. I believe you get as you give. Meanwhile be well and safe. That is the most important thing.

    I almost forgot: I contacted PCS about being charged with abandoning my contract if I didn’t return until I was vaccinated. I believe they cannot say anything beforehand something happens but they have now been alerted to the possibility of the cheerleader and her minions retaliating against those who are concerned about their health.

  70. Yes. Please send me whatever you can. Feel free to delete personal identifying details

  71. @Teach1. You said “state Board of education meeting. Itstated that the [$1000] must be used for bonuses only.”

    Let’s wait to see what the state actually gives the counties. The wording is strong but the state is weak. What’s the state going to do if the county doesn’t give every teacher $1000? What has the state ever done about anything? Hopefully the board will stand strong in giving the money to the teachers.

  72. DSW2Contributor

    @ FMLA posted – “They are threatening teachers by sending them resignation papers who ask for leave. ”
    FMLA is not my area of my expertise, but here is what I think I know about it:

    1) Congress expanded FMLA in 2020, but that expansion ENDED on December 31, 2020.

    2) Now, in 2021, the only thing FMLA gets you is a maximum of 12 weeks of UNPAID leave.

    3) If you are hoping to use your sick leave to stay out of work, you must follow DCSD’s sick leave policies — your saying FMLA will not exempt you from following DCSD’s sick leave policies. (I assume this is why the Palace is demanding documentation and calling Doctors — the Palace is following DCSD’s sick leave policies.)

    4) FMLA also gets you the right to continue your DCSD-provided health insurance… but you have to pay for all of it yourself. You may be better off buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges (, which you can do right now because Biden reopened enrollments from Feb. 15 thru May 15, 2021.

    5) DCSD seems to be responding to FMLA requests by sending out this form, the “Employee Resignation AND Leave of Absence Form”:
    The purpose of that form is to remove an employee from the payroll. which is exactly what needs to happen when an employee uses FMLA to go on UNPAID leave — the employee going on unpaid leave needs to be removed from the payroll.

    6) The last Day of School is May 31, which is just twelve (12) work weeks from today (since April 5-9 is Spring Break.) Your using FMLA to go out on 12 weeks of unpaid leave is effectively the same as resigning your 2020/2021 Contract.

  73. DSW2Contributor

    @FMLA posted – “Is anyone else getting the runaround about getting an FMLA Leave approved? ”
    Many posters do not seem to understand that to use FMLA, you or a family member have to ALREADY be sick.

    The federal government says that you can *NOT* use FMLA just to avoid being exposed to Covid.

    See this Department of Labor page, “COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act Questions and Answers”:
    It says:
    3. Can an employee stay home under FMLA leave to avoid getting COVID-19?

    The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition, as may be the case with COVID-19 where complications arise, or who are needed to care for covered family members who are incapacitated by a serious health condition. Leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to COVID-19 would not be protected under the FMLA. Employers should encourage employees who are ill with COVID-19 or are exposed to ill family members to stay home and should consider flexible leave policies for their employees in these circumstances.

  74. My FMLA is not Covid related. It’s legitimate. I think that’s why the FMLA lady is giving me a hard time. She’s trying to keep me in the classroom through intimidation. That’s unprofessional. It’s not her job to argue with me or my doctor about dates. She crossed the line.

  75. Can you give us an example of the FMLA lady giving you a hard time or intimidating you?

  76. I wonder how many students and teachers will fall as a result of being mandated to take and administer the ACCESS test? We will never know because it will never be made public. CDC guidelines are out the window! Many EL students are young adults and are being mandated to sit in computer labs for three or more hours without proper ventalation and social distancing. This is a population that has no voice. I am so disappointed on so many levels.

  77. Disappointed

    Over 30 years and the only show of appreciation I have ever received was a pack of sunflower seeds.
    Parents, if teachers don’t buy supplies and clean their rooms, they will not be cleaned!

  78. I do not want to get into specifics about the feeling that the FMLA department is trying to intimidate me to stay in the classroom and to give up applying for FMLA. I may send you copies of the the emails after the situation is resolved. My main point of coming here was to find out if the FMLA department was using the same scare tactics on other teachers. I have heard from others personally they were, but I wanted to see if it was happening all over the district. From what others have posted, it is happening to other teachers and not just me. That’s what lawyers are for, to protect the little people like us from big government. This is why I have a membership with PAGE. Big government is trying to intimidate me and take my rights away. I want to let others know you are not alone! I hope the FMLA department resolves the issue and learns how to treat employees with respect and not intimidation! Stop ganging up on the little people!


    Dekalb has gone to the dogs! Now we are asking parents to come in as teachers. Will they get fingerprinted and have a background check. Did the Board of Education approve this? Parents do you really think you can replace teachers? What about EDUCATION. There should be a law against this.

  80. @replacement of teacher, Dekalb is d.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e.

  81. I never thought they would stoop so low!

    @Replacement is that true or just a rumor? I can’t believe the county is that stupid! If it is true I believe that there will be a big problem for the cheerleader. This has to be illegal. Seriously illegal. And all because she had to give in to the group of parents. I wonder if those parents will be happy having unlicensed personnel teaching their children or do they even care?

  82. It’s true. This is why Dekalb is illegally trying to prevent teachers from taking legitimate FMLA leave. Things are bad in Dekalb.

  83. To leave or not to leave that is the question

    DSW2. I have been thinking about your explanation of the FMLA resignation situation. I absolutely do not doubt that you know a lo about what is happening. I am just thinking about what you said and looking at it from a different POV. If a teacher takes FMLA leave without resigning wouldn’t their position via a customer next year be different than if they resigned? Taking leave and resignation would require the teacher to reapply for a position for the following year whereas I think that just taking leave without resignation would not require them to jump through all those hoops and possibly be a problem for the teacher when they reapply. I absolutely know nothing officially but logic tells me not resigning is the better position to take. I think it would give the teacher leverage in the future. What say you?

  84. Parents Teaching Association

    Dekalb wants to re-name the PTA.

  85. If your student is returning to DHS, make sure they bring clothes for summer & winter – parts of the school are fridgid and others are saunas.

  86. Ken Thompson

    FMLA includes return-to-work provisions guaranteeing either the same position/job or one that is equivalent. In a corporate environment I have seen a product manager take FMLA and upon return she filled a PM position but for a different boss and working on a different product-same pay, same benefits. There are special rules for teachers due to the nine month work schedule and definitions of equivalent position. Being on leave at the time of contract renewal/extension may impact the decision to offer a renewal. Or it may not. In software development “on contract” has a special meaning and in particular means that FMLA is (generally) unavailable.

    When you take FMLA you are not allowed to work. Corporations will take your badge, deny access to the office, redirect your phone and email and communicate exclusively through Human Resources and then only regarding FMLA. At least with one global high tech firm. This firm offered access to employee health insurance though full premiums (employee and employer) fell to the employee on leave. This seems expensive but if the employee or the employee’s dependent has the serious illness conferring eligibility, then continuity of coverage may be more important. Despite the name, coverage on the ACA marketplace may neither be as good nor as inexpensive as continuing employer coverage. Also, for those who plan to return, a three month cost differential may not be worth the hassle of switching back and forth. If the goal is to leverage FMLA to essentially terminate a contract early without risk to certification then ACA coverage might be a good option depending on the nature of the underlying eligibility.

  87. You can’t make this stuff up!

    More malice from the palace: March mindfulness is a program to help teachers with the stress we have. So when is it scheduled? Twice a day during the school day when many of us are teaching hybrid which should be a good source of stress. More tone deafness from the cheerleader and her minions. I think the only ones who will be able to participate will be palace munchkins.

  88. What have they been doing over at the county office for the past year to prepare for face-to-face? What did they do with the 160 million dollars in CARES money they received? Our elementary school still does not have one-to-one access to devices for students. We have students coming back face-to-face who were never issued a DCSD device because they use a personal device at home. Our school doesn’t have enough devices to give them one next week. This is absolutely nuts, that after a year, we don’t have the technology needed, both students and teachers.


    The Palace doesn’t care Baby. Remember that many of those prancing and posing over there have NEVER set foot inside a classroom as a full time teacher. Dekalb treats their employees as poorly as they can legally get away with and sometimes illegally and the county has the records to prove these facts. Many of the problems bubbling to the surface now are not new. They have always been there and swept under the rug. I spent 30 years in Dekalb and the stories I could tell. Things are at full blown crisis mode now as the ship is sinking fast. If you own property in Dekalb sell and sell fast. If you have school aged children enroll them in private or religious education. Things are not going to improve.

  90. Can’t do that

    I was scheduled to fill in for a teacher who is on FMLA leave. I was going to teach one of the periods for her while she was out for the rest of the year. Instead of giving me and others extended day pay for doing so they said they could only do sub pay $10. That’s a huge difference. It’s not going to happen. Who will be filling in for others when they don’t pay you anything for doing so.

  91. DSW2Contributor

    From the AJC:
    DeKalb school district solicits parents for work as teachers

    DeKalb County School District officials recently asked parents whether they are interested in teaching opportunities in the school system.

    Parents with children in the district can complete a survey for the district to determine whether they can be hired as substitute or full-time teachers, according to a recent post on one of the school system’s Facebook pages.

    The post said the parents must be a “qualified college graduate.”

    “We look forward to supporting our parents with their professional job-related goals,” the post said.

  92. Lesson learned

    A couple of observations.
    1. Now those parents who believe teachers are lazy and do nothing will have the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. I wonder how many of the “billboard parents “ will volunteer.
    2. So from now on any college grad in any area of study can be a teacher in Dekalb County. No other requirements are necessary. I don’t believe I will be participating in any Professional Development courses. After all the palace has to be consistent in how employees are treated.
    3. I have learned an important lesson thanks to the cheerleader. Being unable to walk back from bad choices will lead to disasters. I don’t care if she learned anything because she needs to have her ass fired…now!

  93. Parents in the building will be interesting. The county will have all those warm bodies in there to babysit kids, but those warm bodies won’t actually be able to do any real work because they aren’t real teachers. The real work will be pawned off on the real teachers in the building. If the county plans on hiring parents, the parents need to participate in workshops to learn how to do grades and lesson planning so they’ll actually be able to help a little. Otherwise, they’re just going to be in the way. Maybe the kids can just sit in the room and let the parents watch them while they get real (virtual) instruction from a certified teacher in the building. I’ve had subs who were not certified teachers come into my class and lead small groups, and as soon as they walked out I had to tell my kids to disregard everything they said because they taught concepts completely wrong. I also have children in the district, and I have a HUGE problem with some random adult walking into my children’s classrooms and having access to my kids. One false move from one of these parents and I’m going straight to the news and the state superintendent. With the current social and political climate in Georgia, I don’t trust untrained people to teach my kids anything.

  94. @parents. I don’t believe I will be doing any work for any unofficial “teachers “. The palace can do it starting with the cheerleader. I really hope you are not right because that is the cherry on top of the nuclear soda.

  95. Tired of the BS

    The DCSD NewsFlash sent this afternoon says they’re hiring bus drivers. This should’ve happened a while ago. Is the district actually ready? Does anyone know how many positions they need to fill? Between this and asking parents to be substitutes (on top of the what teachers already know about the buildings), it appears the district is far from being ready. On a side note, it was extremely disappointing to watch my school undergo a complete makeover just to look good in front of CWH when she visited my school. The outsides of the windows were washed, but only windows visible from the hallway that she’d be able to see. I suspect she had her cronies out days before her visit to try and help fix some of the eyesores prior to her visiting. Because I imagine it looks bad if things are not as “ready” as you claim when you go to visit schools. It’s a sickening feeling watching this behavior as providing a clean and safe learning environment should be the standard everyday. And as soon as her visit was over it felt like our building went back to its filthy self.

  96. Region 1 Teacher

    @Tired of the BS

    In the last two days the palace has put out last-minute requests for teachers and bus drivers. So next week parents will be putting their precious children on school buses operated by inexperienced drivers which will deliver the children to schools without enough qualified instructors. This Superintendent has proven herself incapable of handling the most basic elements of K -12 education, but parents are willing to trust her with the lives of their children. So sad!

  97. DSW2Contributor

    In the AJC:

    Ex-DeKalb school librarian faces child pornography allegation

    A former librarian in the DeKalb County School system possessed hundreds of images of child pornography, according to an arrest warrant from the DeKalb County Police Department.

    Frank Rogers, 52, of Clarkston, was booked into DeKalb County jail on charges related to the sexual exploitation of children, arrest records show. He was taken into custody on Monday.

    A spokeswoman for the DeKalb County School District said Rogers was previously employed as a librarian at Wynbrooke Elementary School in Stone Mountain. She said Rogers resigned from the district and that the case is being investigated and handled by the police.

    Police told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that the DeKalb County Internet Crimes Against Children Unit received an anonymous tip about Rogers during the department’s partnership with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The tip alleged that Rogers engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with minors he met on social media.

    The tip also alleged Rogers possessed child pornography, the police said. A search of his home and digital devices revealed hundreds of images of apparent child pornography.

    Police said detectives are still investigating all leads in the case due to the “alarming allegations and his profession.” Residents with any information are urged to call CyberTipline at 1-800-THE-LOST or the department’s Special Victims office at 770-724-7710.

  98. Stakeholder

    Such a sad contrast…reading news about Clayton County…Dr. Beasley is planning for a phased return to in-person learning mid-April, giving staff more than month to prepare with the goal of 100% staff vaccinated and $2000 bonuses on the way…versus Dekalb hiring parents to sub, and most likely drive buses…crickets on vaccinations and bonuses…and the horrific story DSW2 Contributor shared above. We have had over a dozen teachers leave our school this year, so I don’t think “17 have resigned from the whole county” report from CWH can be accurate.


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