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.

345 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.

    8
  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.

    10
  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?

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  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.

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  5. DONTWORKFORDCSS

    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.

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  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.:

    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/dekalb-superintendent-plans-state-of-the-school-district-address/6KFITMZKBRESTPVWUATP73JPLA/

    1
  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.

    1
  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?

    1
  9. DONTWORKFORDCSS

    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.

    15
  10. I just want the state bonus at this point. Any news on that?

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  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.

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  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. “

    5
  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: https://bit.ly/3kipibs #iLoveDCSD

    2
  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 https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/school-reopening/. To watch the State of District event-themed “Elevating the DCSD experience to a new standard of excellence” click here https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv/.

    1
  15. Maybe they need a proofreader?? Seventh and Eighth grade do not return?

    8
  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 https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/school-reopening/.

    To watch the State of District event-themed “Elevating the DCSD experience to a new standard of excellence” click here https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv/.

    1
  17. DSW2Contributor

    Was anyone able to watch Cheerleader on DSTV?

    1
  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.

    1
  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.

    4
  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.

    1
  21. Of course she’s “saying” the right things. Full of BS about transparency.

    11
  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?

    5
  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.

    WTF?

    9
  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.

    14
  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!

    20
  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.

    8
  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.?

    16
  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?

    9
  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?

    8
  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.

    12
  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.

    13
  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.

    10
  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.

    11
  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.

    17
  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).

    10
  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!

    14
  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…”

    https://www.georgiahealthnews.com/…/cdc-study-covid…/

    8
  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.
    Geez…

    2
  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.

    11
  40. Few Will Return

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

    5
  41. I wonder if even fewer teachers will return next year.

    6
  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.

    https://www.11alive.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/columbia-middle-school-custodian-dies-covid/85-92717ea7-8609-499a-9e02-6c22b2b35c96

    4
  43. Don't Need To Reopen Schools

    Just read article on ajc.com 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.

    2
  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?

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