DeKalb Schools administration stated the school district will begin the transition to a hybrid learning model if the Cases Per 100K (Last 2 Weeks) is below 100 for 14 days straight. How do we calculate that?
The data comes from the Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report. If you roll over DeKalb, you will see the statistics for DeKalb County. If you roll over the bar graph on the right, you will get the Confirmed Cases for that day.
Cases (last 2 weeks): The sum of the Confirmed Cases for the last 14 days
Population: 793,154 – Using 2018 U.S. Census data to derive population
Cases per 100k (last 2 weeks) = 100,000 x Cases (last 2 weeks) / Population
CASES PER 100K (LAST 2 WEEKS)
It’s been 4 months since the Shelter In Place time period and it was the last time DeKalb Schools has seen less than 100 cases per 100K (last 2 weeks). Here are the cases per 100K (last 2 weeks) for every day since July.
57 CASES PER DAY = 100 cases per 100K
If DeKalb County averages 57 cases per day for 14 days, that will be 100 cases per 100K (last 2 weeks). Since July, DeKalb has gone under 57 cases for the day half a dozen times.
|RAW DATA – CASES PER 100K (LAST 2 WEEKS)|
|Date||Cases That Day||Cases per 100K (Last 2 Weeks)||Date|
You don’t base people lives and health on a formula. Schools should remain closed and stay virtual until January 2021. Students will come back to empty class with no teacher. Teachers are going to quit and not return. The numbers will likely go up as we approach Thanksgiving & Christmas!!!
Hello Renee. Thanks for joining the convo. Why do you say January? Aside from the election, what will have changed by January 2021?
Can you confirm your comment that the number needs to be below 100 for 14 days straight? I suspect you’re confusing the 14-day metric with the metric’s having to be a certain value for 14 days straight. Here’s what the superintendent said: “As I shared in my re-entry plan, DCSD began the school year in a remote learning space and will only return scholars to face-to-face learning when the risk for the spread of COVID-19 becomes moderate or minimal – less than 100 cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day period.” She’s mentioning one metric – the 14-day metric. She never says this metric needs to be below for 14 days straight.
Please watch what you post Stan- I doubt you are trying to make this political, but it would be easy to interpret that you are. Teachers and parents are scared…
Your question is valid- just leave off the “aside from the election “
@Science Teacher- Please tell me that you’re not so naïve to think that politics doesn’t have a TON to do with the decision whether or not to reopen schools, especially in DeKalb. To me it’s definitely fair game to discuss. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the board members that represent the more disadvantaged areas of the county- which sadly contain the students most likely to suffer/struggle in the virtual learning environment- are the ones most ardently against returning to in-person school. It seems counter-intuitive, but then again it’s clear that in-person school has become divided sharply down political lines. As soon as Trump & Kemp called for a return to in-person school, you knew a deeply Democrat county like DeKalb would push back hard against it. It’s all political, and they don’t care of they have to use our kids as pawns in their game. Pretty sad & pathetic, but par for the course, unfortunately.
Hello @Maggie. Well … now you have me questioning myself. Let me confirm that.
@science teacher…politicians are always political. Messy Stan is no different. No one even mentioned the election. January as a benchmark has nothing to do with who or who will not be President. Most people choose January as a benchmark because it is after the holidays and holiday travel and flu season will have already started by then, giving the experts, which Messy Stan and his fellow followers are not, an opportunity to see what happens when all of these factors are in place. When is his last day again? Ugghh!
All other counties (besides APS) are either back in school or have a firm date. We maybe, perhaps, fingers crossed, might go back this semester but only if insane metrics are met. We cannot see the forest for the trees. I am sick and scared about the impact that virtual learning is having on our most vulnerable children. Guess what – we can’t this time back. We can’t look back a year from now and look at suicides, abuse cases, school drop outs and say “WHOOPS! We really messed up!” It’ll be too late. I can’t help but look at my fellow Dekalb parents and taxpayers and be baffled that they are allowing thousands and thousands of children to be left behind for a virus with a median fatality age of 78 years old. My 80 year old dad thinks it’s crazy and I am sure many his age agree. I can’t help but think that the blood is on the Superintendent’s hands. Are teachers, staff, grandparents dying in the streets in Cherokee, Gwinnett, Hall, Forsyth? Why can’t we look at how they opened and learn from them? We are letting all of our children down, and we are doing so willingly. BTW – Teachers are AMAZING and I am so thankful for them. This is on the Superintendent and the Board.
Well that was helpful, Dunwoody Dad…
Stan, I have absolutely loved your blog for years. You filled a much needed void when celebration’s blog ended. But I have to ask you, has your wonderful blog turned into something that does more harm than good?
@MessyStan, Thank you for sharing. I still don’t understand why we should remain closed and expect to go back in January. Given your remarks, I can’t ascertain how you expect COVID-19 to be any different in January than it is now. Are you saying that the holidays and flu season should drive COVID-19 cases down? Thanks for participating in the conversation. –Stan
Stan- do we have the latest survey results and where can we find them? Thanks!
I can’t speak for Renee and others, but my thought would be that waiting til 2nd semester would be waiting until people were less likely to travel (Thanksgiving and Christmas) so spread would be less likely to spike again.
Also, more time virtual = more time DCSD maintenance SHOULD be working to make buildings safe/safer. The HVAC is horrendous in Region 1, and I imagine it is in other regions as well.
Have there been any reports of significant outbreaks of cases among teachers or staff in any of the other surrounding counties that have started back in-person? Or in private schools, virtually all of which are also back in-person? Specifically any hospitalizations or deaths associated with those cases? That could help in letting us know what we might be able to expect when we reopen.
On a side note, sadly in February a 31-year old teacher at Vanderlyn Elementary passed away from the flu. I don’t recall that school ever shutting down, or honestly hearing about anything being done in response to protect the health of students or staff there. Frankly I’m not sure it even made the news outside of some local reporting & Facebook posts. But I guess we have decided as a society to accept the risk that comes with the seasonal flu, even though it is far more dangerous for children & younger adults than COVID-19. Interesting contrast.
Honestly I’m still amazed that we’re all apparently OK with DeKalb putting thousands of our children on 10-20 year old school buses with NO SEAT BELTS every day & driving them around the county, but again, I guess that’s just a risk we’ve all decided we’re willing to take. Maybe one day enough people will open their eyes and see that the risk from COVID for DeKalb schools- students & staff alike- is far outweighed by the risk of losing kids or having them fall irreversibly behind under the disaster that is virtual learning.
@Dunwoody Dad, I’m a republican and I do not want teaching to be face to face. I want to live without getting Covid and I also don’t want any families to get Covid from school. This is not political at all. Some people don’t care if they get sick and some people do. Some people have family members with preexisting conditions, some don’t. Everyone has their reasons but if the reason is political then that’s not the smartest decision. How in the world would virtual teaching help Biden get elected? I’m still not sure how that works out for him, lol.
Anonymous – That should absolutely be your right! You should be able to keep your kids home as long as you’d like. Those who NEED an in-person option should also be given that right. No one is trying to take anything from you. Please, advocate for the less fortunate, the vulnerable, the kids who need in-person school. We are letting them down. It’s on us.
It’s operation chaos. Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer was recorded saying the country’s largest county would not reopen its schools until “after the election.”
Her comments led the California radio show hosts, who obtained the recording, to speculate about why she chose to use the General Election instead of some other day like Halloween, as a target date, and whether the county health department and schools were trying to manipulate public opinion in favor of the Democrats.
Close down schools and the economy for maximum chaos. Come January, start opening everything up even though nothing has changed.
Look at the research- school buses are less safe with seatbelts for the general population.
@Dunwoody Dad, An estimated 12-60,000 Americans die from the flu yearly, from CDC stats. 200,000 have died from Covid so far. It has not been 1 year yet. This is not the flu.
Virtual teaching will not swing the election. If you vote for Biden because your child is learning virtually you deserve what you get.
What’s the plan if an effective COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t come out for a couple years or never? Can we make schools at least as safe as grocery stores?
Stan is the ONLY Board member who had the Courage and professional work ethic to rightfully and transparently call out the repeated highly inappropriate behavior of another Board member from the September public monthly meeting for all to see on the home page of this site. Dr. Morley’s sour and angry attitude has gone unchecked for far too long. I didn’t hear anyone else on the Board stepping up. I researched, and Stan Jester is the only Board member with a great user-friendly website and forum for all to speak and learn. He is very responsive and honest. Stan, you will be Very missed when your term ends, and Dekalb Schools are left with…. well…..whatever we are left with.
@Anonymous- How many school-aged children have died of/with Covid, as opposed to how many die in a normal year of the seasonal flu? The risk of death for those under 20 is virtually non-existent, similar to the risk of being struck & killed by lightning. Nobody is saying this is exactly the same as the flu, I’m just pointing out for those of school age, it’s far less deadly than the flu is.
And again, on the 200K deaths, I would caution you to believe that Covid actually killed ALL of those people, whether they were found to have Covid when they died or not. But I’m sure you’ll argue that it doesn’t really matter.
Also, if you don’t want to be face-to-face for whatever reason, that’s your choice (for your kids, I presume). I’m saying that those teachers & students that do want to be face-to-face should have that option. Where’s the harm in that? Also, are you & your family staying home at all times currently, to avoid potentially getting Covid from any source, or are your fears about catching it just specific to a school environment? Curious as to your risk tolerance.
It’s the community spread to adults that’s the issue for me, not deaths for children.
So sad yall going by a chart for re-opening of schools & over 200,000 people have died and still dying from COVID-19
So you’re complaining about what Stan writes?
He can probably say what he wants on HIS blog and you can choose whether you want to read it or not. You always have the option to get information elsewhere. You obviously appreciate the information enough to be here reading and commenting. Just saying!
I’m not a fan of the reopening plan either. However, at least he gives us more information.
Thank you Stan for giving us information that the district does not always give us!
Taken from another Dekalb parent’s page – but I couldn’t say it better myself. I am so disappointed that so many fellow parents are advocating for schools to remain closed. I hope I am wrong on this – but data is telling us otherwise – the risks of staying virtual FAR outweigh the risk of C19.
“Unfortunately, Dekalb County Schools has unveiled a plan that will not allow for full time in person learning until an arbitrary threshold of <6 cases per 100K over the last 14 days is met (we are currently at 117). Even after an effective (hopefully) vaccine is deployed, it’s unlikely this threshold would ever be met. This means many more months of not being in person full time.
All metro Atlanta school systems should offer both a full time in person option with safety protocols and virtual option for vulnerable teachers and students.
More and more is learned every day about the spread, risks, damage being done by not being in person for instruction, as well as successes being seen at most other metro Atlanta area school systems that have been full time in person since the beginning of August or are currently transitioning to in person as an option. If you will recall, the entire point of closing everything down was to flatten the curve of hospitalizations to avoid overwhelming them. That mission has been accomplished and hospital capacity is very manageable today. Cases do not matter, the only thing that matters is hospital utilization and deaths, both of which have been low and stable/declining in Dekalb County. If grocery stores, restaurants, daycare centers, businesses, and most everyone else has found a way to make it work, our schools can do the same. Dekalb County Schools has a budget of more than $1 Billion (yes, Billion with a B) that serves approximately 100K students and taxpaying families. To keep the risks in context, there are 756K residents of Dekalb. As of 09/22/20, approximately 2K have been hospitalized from Covid-19 (0.27%) and unfortunately 349 have died (0.0461%). Of those 349 deaths, over half – 176 were people with pre-existing conditions and over the age of 60. In fact, in all of Dekalb County, there are just 37 deaths without pre-existing conditions that are under the age of 60 – that’s 0.005%. We must weigh and mitigate the risk of returning in person vs. the damage being done to students and families by not:
1. Students are literally going hungry as many receive their only meal at school – even bus food distribution is way down.
2. Students in neglected and abusive homes are not being discovered which is predominately reported by schools.
3. Students’ educational and social development is being negatively impacted. I have heard from many parents that their children who used to love school cry every morning and say that they hate school.
4. Students in economically disadvantaged homes are falling behind other students that have better access to parental guidance, tutors, pods, technology, etc.
5. Special needs students are not getting legally mandated services
6. ESOL students are oftentimes not able to be guided virtually by their parents
7. Parents are struggling to balance virtual learning, their own jobs, and finding and paying for childcare. This is exacerbated in single parent and low-income households."
Formula Confirmed – I exchanged a couple messages with Cheryl Watson-Harris. She said the plan is currently to begin the transition to the hybrid learning model once the “CASES PER 100K (LAST 2 WEEKS)” number is below 100 for 14 days in a row. –Stan
Thank you Stan, for giving us a voice. I appreciate your blog! You do an amazing job responding positively to commenters who disagree with you.
I just read this headline, and I know young people also die from the flu, but Covid is a more destructive virus than influenza: “A young Texas doctor, 28, has died from coronavirus after becoming infected treating positive patients in a hospital emergency room and suffering a ‘massive brain bleed’. “ She was 28, that’s young. Children are going to be super spreaders. England is talking about shutting back down the entire country for 2 weeks due to the second wave. They tried to open schools recently, which I’m sure was a big contributing factor. New Jersey believes they are beginning a second wave there. It’s going to spread from New Jersey all over the country. If we don’t get a second wave, I’m fine with opening the schools but if it’s already happening in Europe and New Jersey is reporting their fear that they are beginning their second wave, then it’s going to happen here. We all knew the second wave was coming and we will have the flu too. Is it smarter to add super spreaders into the community or keep them quarantined?
Other than looking at the large and growing number of teacher job openings on the Dekalb PATS website, is there some way to learn, weekly, how many teacher resignations have been turned in? I presume those resigning and/or retiring are giving at least two weeks’ notice. Since Dekalb will not train Substitutes on the virtual learning software, and they are unemployed (and also leaving), what should be the plan for daily teaching coverage?
Stan, Is administration engaged in conversations with any o our neighboring School Districts that are engaging in in person instruction? It seems they would be a great resource with regards to what works and what does not work. It would be great if part of Administrations presentation during monthly meetings was some of those learnings.
Also, for schools in neighboring districts that have in person instruction are the number of COVID cases being tracked? I know we hear about outbreaks but those seem to be the exception not the rule. For example, Gwinnett has approximately 20 high schools that currently have in person instruction going on. How many Covid cases did they have last week?
One of the reasons for not re-opening is the assumption that Covid cases will spread like wildfire once schools reopen. But what if that is being proven wrong in neighboring schools?
I have a sincere question for those who don’t want to go back until January or later. Is there a number of cases that would be acceptable? It has been stated above that we have more than 5 cases of the flu and there is a vaccine for it. This virus is here to stay. I’m not willing to live this way forever. I’m not saying we should open up right now, but I am genuinely curious at what threshold people will be comfortable going back. Are those concerned waiting for the vaccine and once they are vaccinated comfortable going back? I personally probably won’t be sending my kids back. Not because of fear from the virus, but because I don’t want them sent home for every sniffle. I don’t want them to have the disruption of having to miss school for a runny nose and cough that are normal in elementary aged kids. It’s easier for me to plan on having them daily then to scramble for childcare when they aren’t able to go to school.
I really am genuinely curious at what numbers people will be ok with? What if we don’t get there? What if this goes on another year? Is that acceptable?
FORMULA CONFIRMED….LOL. So we’re averaging averages now?!?!?! Lord help us. I have no doubt CWH didn’t have a definitive answer to that question so she thought…..wait…..if I say it has to be below that number for 14 days straight then I can push this off as long as possible.
Can she update her PPT slides to say Cases/100k/28 consecutive days?
What a dumpster fire.
The Cases per 100,000 (two weeks) figure is averaged over a constantly moving two week period.
Individual days within that moving two week period may be over or under the threshold.
Once that averaged two week number stays at or under 100 for 14 days then the re-opening process will begin.
That is the only way to show that we have maintained 100 or under for a full 14 days.
Even if the cases are below 100 per 100K, it is still considered high risk.
I am concerned that the ventilation in the building are not adequate.
As a teacher, I do not feel safe to return.
@Anonymous- That is truly sad about the young physician in Houston dying, but again, where were the similar headlines & angst/panic when the 31-year old Vanderlyn teacher died of the flu earlier this year? Was that death not just as tragic or alarming? Does it not mean we should all hole up in our houses & wait for the flu to go away completely before we re-open schools or get back to “normal life”?
Can you provide some data to support a supposed coming “second wave” in New Jersey? All I see are articles where people talk about “fears” of a second wave- although I guess if we’ve learning anything during the pandemic, if you talk about “fearing” something that “might” or “could” happen, many will take that to mean that it definitely WILL happen so we’d better PANIC!
Also, there is very little actual evidence that children- especially school-aged children- are “super-spreaders” of Covid. There’s more evidence that says the opposite, actually. On my end, my daughter’s soccer team has practiced three times a week since the first week of June & has been playing tournaments & games almost every weekend since August. They are 7th & 8th grade girls so as you can imagine, there is almost zero social distancing going on, either on the field, on the sidelines, or any time they are around each other off the field (restaurants, etc.). Somehow, no cases of Covid on the team or in any families so far. But how can that be if they’re all destined to be super spreaders? Our neighborhood pool & tennis courts have been open all summer with limited social distancing actually occurring. We have heard of a few isolated cases in the neighborhood, but no “outbreaks”. Again, you’d think something like that would be impossible given all the fear-mongering that’s out there, that so many have taken as their new gospel. It will be the same with schools- you’ll have cases here & there, & even a supposed “outbreak” or two, and then everything will get back to normal. Honestly I wonder if some people have gotten so invested in Covid fear ruling their lives that they even WANT that, or will accept it moving forward?
Since public schools in Dekalb County are closed forever, can we get a refund on our property taxes for 2020? Since buildings are sitting empty and not being used and from the metrics that Dekalb is using will never be used again, ever, we should get a refund no? Do we need the volume of teachers when virtual learning can be done with fewer teachers? Why are we still paying for PE, Dance, ART, STEM, Janitors, Secretaries, Vice Principals, Bus Drivers, Cafeteria Staff, Computer Teachers, Liberians, etc? It’s time to shut the schools down, empty the pipes, turn off the HVAC, turn off non-essential electronics and be done with it. To get to 100 or fewer cases, let alone 1-5 cases in the county (that’s legitimately never happening) will be impossible for 2020-21. Furlough the unnecessary staff and be done with it.
For those that DON’T believe this isn’t political in Dekalb, you’re mistaken, even if you take Dr. Morley’s statements as she’s saying they should have come out of her mouth, there’s content in her message along with others that patently political. This is not unique to Dekalb, other counties and cities around the country will not entertain reopening until the first week of November.
Unfortunately our kids deserve better but every level of our government from the local school districts through the State and Federal government have all enjoyed their new political power and employed their powers over all of us for too long. (flatten the curve was almost 200 days ago!) We all deserve better leadership at all levels, they’ve all failed us.
@Stan, making schools as safe as grocery stores: it’s the amount of time in a small closed in space that’s the issue. It takes 3 hours for the virus to circulate a room. Grocery stores are bigger and people are spending probably 30 minutes inside and they’ve been told not to bring children or family inside. People are respecting those guidelines.
@anonymous I’ll go back to my previous comment. Are teachers, staff, and grandparents dropping like flies in Cherokee, Gwinnett, Forsyth, ______ County you’d like to include here that have been in-person since August? How are they handling it and why are they successful? If Dekalb isn’t engaging with them to find out, why not?
Those are facts some folks don’t want to Google, I’m assuming that Anonymous also thinks the entire country of Sweden is dead.
I’d love to see what the overall drop out rate is going to be this year for those over 18 and the number of kids that left for other schooling options in 2020 compared to the 2019 numbers. Families have had enough and those that can move likely have in droves.
It is true that not many children die by getting struck by lightning, but wouldn’t it be negligent for a school to continue an outdoor activity, like Field Day, after lightning had been observed in the area?
Also, I and my family do not go into any buildings right now, and haven’t for months. The last building was the doctor’s office to sign a form after a telemedicine visit. And I could see that there was a staff member at the door monitoring who was going in and keeping masks on in the waiting room. Everything is delivery or no-contact pickup. There are many people like my family.
If it does not spread easily among children then why did the YMCA camp in Georgia have 260 people test positive out of 344 tested? It took 10 days to spread. They were wearing masks and social distancing. We made national news, it was embarrassing :/.
It’s been suggested that states should provide emergency education savings accounts to families for the remainder of the school year. The taxpaper funds that would’ve been spent on public schools students should be put in their education savings accounts.
This would allow education savings accounts to pay for private tutoring, textbooks, online resources, or tuition at a in-person or virtual private school. Public education money should fund the student and allow us to use it in a learning environment or school that fits our children the best. Also, this would allow students receiving speech therapy and other services to continue to receive these services in the private sector.
The power should never be in the hands public school bureaucrats and teachers. It should be in the hands of
Give us our money back. Prorate it. Allow teachers out of their contracts with no penalty. There are so many out there willing to become certified using the alternative route to certification and have no problem heading back to school to teach.
If I thought DCSD could/would do a better job of maintaining its facilities and protecting its staff, I would be in a much better position to support f2f. When the best they can do is spend one PowerPoint slide outlining Covid protections and it only includes what should be routine maintenance and one slide telling all staff that they must return to work in the building (even those with pre-existing conditions but don’t worry! They can’t take fmla when they get sick) we have along way to go.
Also, did I hear it correctly that a small portion of the kids would be in class and the others would be watching a live stream? My kids are having a hard enough time when the teacher is speaking in to the camera. How is a teacher supposed to teach 5 in class and 15 at home? We are buying cameras for the smart boards? Really? Never going to work in elementary or even high school in discussion based classes. This specific hybrid model is going to make learning and teaching even worse for all those involved.
I think it is funny that the extra professional development days at the beginning of the year were just spent telling teachers how to teach (which they know how to do) instead of teaching them the technology to teach remotely. No training on google classrooms. No training on teams. Now that we might be moving into hybrid hell, it would be nice for the county to tell teachers how to pull of this magic act. This model would NEVER be chosen from a pedagogical perspective.
Invest in safety, not smart board cameras. Train teachers and let those that want to stay remote teach the kids who will be sticking with virtual learning.
And what about the 200 of you that waited in line to pickup your paper checks because you didn’t update your addresses, didn’t have direct deposit set-up, or blamed a postal delay?
“There was nowhere to socially distance. People were wearing masks but not correctly. And they were in small quarters, and they were making people come into small rooms for people to get their paychecks.”
Another employee said that no social distancing was enforced. “You come into over 100 people – into an auditorium,” the employee said. “Some with no mask.”
Teachers were not seen socially distancing and many not wearing masks in the line outside. Some even brought their children.
Isn’t your life more important than a paycheck? That’s what you’ve been screaming. That you would wait in line, no social distancing when possible, not wearing masks or not wearing them correctly, and bringing your children with you??? I hope none of you “have blood on my hands” as many of you like to say.
What about all of you TEACHERS who tested positive from July 1 – August. This was announced during the school board meeting August 10. Twenty-two of the 66 teachers who tested positive did so last week, Watson-Harris said (August 6-10). SIXTY SIX TEACHERS. The remaining fourteen were student-athletes.
DO BETTER. You want to be paid but not follow guidelines. Oh the irony.
Really good information, Stan.
Not sure if this has been said previously, but the cases are cyclical. Sunday and Monday reporting are typically lower than the other days (typically about 40 to 50 cases less). From the data, Stan provided there have been 8 days less than 57, but only 2 of those days were not a Monday or Sunday.
It’s noteworthy that by and large private schools are back in person. Most of them are 100% in person 5 days a week. I’m not sure what kind of conclusion to draw from that, but it says something.
We really should be using Date of Onset rather than Date of Report in determining where things stand with cases, as that info is more accurate/relevant than simply when a case gets reported. Like you said, there’s always a huge influx of cases & deaths on Tuesdays, lessening out as the week goes along, with very little of either reported for Sunday or Monday. And it’s like that nationally as well. But Date of Onset (Cases) and Date of Death (Deaths) paint a much clearer picture. Now, those two metrics also include a 14-day buffer at the end to allow for the reporting lag, which is appropriate. But using Date of Onset rather than Date of Report, as of Sept. 8 (most recent date for Date of Onset data), DeKalb’s two week Cases per 100K average was 112, as opposed to 128 on the same date when using Date of Report data. And that type of difference is linear and goes back as far as the data does. For example, on Sept. 1, Date of Onset was 123, while Date of Report was 152.
I don’t know why DeKalb is choosing to use Date of Report as opposed to Date of Onset. Maybe it’s easier for them, maybe they don’t understand the difference, or maybe they just want whichever one looks worse (wouldn’t put it past most of this school board). DeKalb also has the lowest rate of positive tests in the entire Metro Atlanta area (10+ counties). Regardless of any metric, I feel strongly we should have already been back in school already. Why other counties & private schools can figure this out but we can’t simply baffles me.
Dekalb County Schools is a jobs program. Taxpayers are funding jobs for people who aren’t working. We should get a charitable deduction on our taxes. The “school system” will soon be decimated by a combination of reduced enrollment and the obsolescence of its aged and decrepit facilities. Those employees currently working “at home” better be careful what they wish for.
Second wave in Quebec: “ Quebec’s top public health official said Monday that a second wave of COVID-19 infections is underway, and joined authorities in Montreal and Quebec City in urging people to reduce their social activities as much as possible in the weeks ahead.”
Canada as a whole is beginning to say they’re in a second wave: “The second wave is here, Canada’s testing capacity is not.”
“ Health officials have already declared that a second wave of the coronavirus is taking place across the country.“
“ Coronavirus cases in Canada: Ontario sees biggest spike since May 2; Quebec in ‘second wave”
Covid is not gone, we are looking at a second wave coming to our area soon. It’s not going to stay in Europe and it’s not going to stay in Canada. It will travel here. Virtual teaching protects our community, children, teachers, staff, parents, grandparents, grocery workers, medical workers,etc. Dekalb is doing the right thing continuing virtual teaching. Thank you Dekalb!
Oh Jobs…I’ve worked as hard on virtual instruction as anything I’ve ever done in many years of teaching and so are most teachers.
While not true for all private schools, the lower class sizes, spiffy facilities, and financially stable families make using the private school formula an invalid model for the larger, more diverse public schools. I do hope we closely follow what happens in Gwinnett and Fulton- particularly south Fulton.
I’d like to get back soon. Maybe the kids won’t get sick, but kids love to share things, including Covid. Not planning to enter the building quite yet.
It’s simple, either employees will go back into the building or enrollment will continue to decline and after the FTE counts October and March come in, jobs will be lost. Parents have to make decisions and they only get 12 weeks of paid leave, so be willing to step back into the building like other school districts or start applying now for your other dream job because the money follows the kid.
The results of a French study suggest that children are not “super-spreaders” of SARS-CoV-2: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-23/school-children-don-t-spread-coronavirus-french-study-shows.
From Australia, contact tracing of cases in schools yields this evidence:
“In pediatrics we are so used to saying children are super spreaders, we absolutely know they are!” said Kristine Macartney, director of Australia’s National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). “But for COVID-19 we don’t see evidence of children being super spreaders.”
Public health officials in the state of New South Wales traced hundreds of close contacts related to the 18 coronavirus cases at 15 schools (nine teachers and nine students) between early March and the end of term in mid-April. Researchers at NCIRS, a government agency, found among the almost 900 close contacts, only two had contracted the disease.
“It does suggest to us that transmission from children is low in contrast to what we see for other viruses like influenza,” said Macartney, a pediatric disease specialist.
@ Jobs/ Charity
If you really think teachers are getting paid to do nothing, you are sadly mistaken! Teachers are working longer hours and they are spending their own money to purchase resources in order to teach. Obviously you have realized the value of teachers because you can’t do with your children what a teacher does with a class full, no help, and for 8 hours.
Agreed, traditional school is the best option, however our health is more important. 1 death caused by exposure from being in school is too much. Maybe DeKalb needs to open up schools for those who want to attend . I bet you will get classes full of unsupervised students. Why don’t you change professions and be a guinea pig! No need to waste tax payers money!
@ Dunwoody Dad,
DeKalb needs more people like you to change professions and become a teacher. You would be an asset to schools and students. Your concern and compassion is loud and clear! This is a great time ( a pandemic) to really show how much your care. Put supportive, unselfish actions to your words! I’ll wait
Those of you bringing up Gwinnett County, do you realize that their teachers do not personally interact with the students in the classroom? Students maintain distance from the teacher, and one another, at all times. The teacher instructs both in-person and virtual students simultaneously – via the computer (zoom etc. ) at the teacher’s desk. The kids are receiving instruction virtually, but inside of the classroom. The only difference is, now it is harder to understand the teacher because they are teaching the kids, through the computer, WITH A MASK. The students receive the exact same instruction and the exact same assignments as those that are still virtual.
Those screaming and demanding for your child to be allowed back into the classroom because you simply don’t like virtual learning or are displeased with the quality of instruction, don’t seem to realize that it will look NOTHING like a traditional learning environment. Your child will receive NOTHING additional from learning via their device inside of the classroom. Nothing. The only thing that you will be doing is potentially exposing your child, someone else’s child, or your child’s teacher to an airborne virus that can have serious implications, ranging from potentially life-long health impacts to death. It is a novel virus that can potentially be chronic. Science has only hit the tip of the iceberg in its understanding of the way that Covid attacks the body. It is a virus that we know impacts the heart, brain, nervous system, among other parts of the body. It is a virus that can cause permanent damage to the lungs and can negatively impact your body’s ability to circulate your blood to the point of causing blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks – even in those that are completely asymptomatic.
Anyone screaming politics at this point is projecting. Take a long look at yourself in the mirror, examine your motives, and stop assuming the worst of teachers. Politics are the furthest thing from our minds. We have genuine, legitimate concerns regarding our health and well-beings. We are concerned about the health of our families. We are concerned for our students and their loved ones – even the ones who have bought into the rhetoric that this global pandemic is somehow all politics or ‘fake-news’. Though you have chosen to be willfully-ignorant, your health is paramount to the emotional well-being of your children.
At this point, those of you banging your fists and demanding an accelerated return to the classroom are just fighting for free childcare. Last I checked, educator and childcare provider were not synonymous. Your child is entitled to an education – not an education that looks one particular way. If teachers aren’t healthy, what will your child’s quality of education look like then? Who will you have to blame?
Parent of the year award goes to you.
Citizen of the Year award? Yep, you can have that one too. He-Man Virtual Learning Haters Club membership status? Granted.
Why wait until January? Well, things are finally becoming somewhat routine for most of my classes. I’m averaging a similar attendance rate as I do in the building. My students are completing about the same percentage of work as in the building. Yes, that’s taken a LOT of calls, a LOT of instructional video conferences, and an abundance of texts and emails, but it’s paying off. My fear is we start switching things around and suddenly it’s chaos all over again. Honestly, our students are learning some excellent skills if they are encouraged to exercise those skills. Everyday my students take a little more initiative, and it’s encouraging to watch.
I realize not all teachers are rising to the occasion. Virtual teaching isn’t just assigning a host of practice tests for kids to complete. Those of us who are using the extra time we are given wisely are creating new and challenging lessons.
The discussion should be more about how do we get hotspots/internet for all of our students. The students that I have who are missing work or absent from classes are almost all connection related.
@ Dear He-Man Virtual Learning Haters Club
You say in your rant,
“At this point, those of you banging your fists and demanding an accelerated return to the classroom are just fighting for free childcare. Last I checked, educator and childcare provider were not synonymous.”
FREE? We pay for in person school so it’s not free. So yes, you’re an “educator” and “childcare provider.” Take a look at your property tax bill, educator.
If teachers are not healthy, it’s on you as we know teachers spread it to other teachers/staff, and our children because you haven’t taken the necessary precautions.
Please be observant whom you receive information from , and listen careful to what they say. I’ve seen some very egotistical post from this page and now little by little true colors are shown. It’s scary, and it’s even more scary that you are falsely giving kudos to a man that could not care less about you , your families, or your students. Even scary political statements have boldly been declared and we just overlook them because he has declared he and he alone single handily got you guys a raise. Sound familiar ? ? Very, very bad lol ….
CDC Facts updated last week for the survival rate (IF infected) by Covid:
0-19 : 99.997%
You will not see this reported on heavily in the press, which makes you wonder, what’s ACTUALLY scaring people, the media hype 24/7 and politicians or Covid. Those that are old enough to have some context to this, when the AID epidemic hit in the 80’s , in 1987 Oprah stated on her show that “AIDS has both sexes running scared. Research studies now project the one in five–listen to me, hard to believe–one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That’s by 1990…” Do you all know where she got that information? Do you still fear dying of AIDS in school? There used to be a fear of blood, spit, open wounds, etc that paralyzed people.
Have we learned anything about listening to the media?
‘At this point, those of you banging your fists and demanding an accelerated return to the classroom are just fighting for free childcare.” -Dear He-Man Virtual Learning Haters Club,
Think about that statement.
This is likely a teacher that is employed by the Tax Payers of Dekalb.
FREE. Right. Who’s paying the property taxes?
Why are the majority of the vocal teachers that post here consistently attacking parents who are concerned about their children?
Is it the Unions driving these teachers mad or is it finally the tipping point where we’re seeing the true colors of our teachers?
Either way, you need to know you work for US (aka the tax paying citizens of Dekalb), nothing is FREE about schooling. If you don’t want to work for us, please quit, we need to weed out the teachers that see our children as kids they have to babysit vs those that are in the profession to educate our children. Remember the children you’re educating today will teach your children or grandchildren, you’ll reap what you sow sooner than later. If you’re not in the game to win, please quit.
Final thought… why is it teachers are the only profession crying about having to go back into “the office” during these times? I see doctors, first responders, grocery store employees, truck drivers, etc all showing up to work on a daily basis to perform their job. Maybe Dekalb County Public Schools truly is a jobs program, I never wanted to think that but teachers here are showing how they really don’t deserve the positions they hold.
Not quite. Educators pay those same taxes that you love to bring up in every one of your posts. Do you know who else pays those taxes? Those with or without children, the elderly, your local business down the road, and…everyone who lives in or elects to do business with the county. It is your civic duty and the way that our nation works. If you don’t like it, go dump some tea in a river, or something.
School provides a service – educating students. A service that your child is currently receiving Monday’s-Friday’s (excluding holidays). If you are refusing these services, because they don’t look the way that YOU would like, please forward your information so that we can share it with social services. Again, schools are NOT your free childcare, but I am SO happy that you have confirmed the true issue at the heart of this.
If you are tired of parenting, just say that. If you are willing to selfishly put the health and well-being of others at jeopardy, because you want a break from your child, just say that. Screaming that others are making things political, whining, or should willingly trot into a situation that they KNOW would be hazardous to their health , because YOU have personally decided that what benefits you more is being rid of your child for 8 hours a day in the middle of a deadly pandemic, is an atrocity. It is flagrant. You are a disgusting person.
If you have made the decision to be reckless and go play in traffic as relates to your heath and that of your child, that is YOUR BUSINESS. Demanding that the same teachers that you have taken every opportunity for MONTHS to denigrate and deem as expendable, lazy, incapable, and worthless – come play in traffic WITH YOU is a bridge too far. Your liberty stops at my nose.
The difference between COVID and the flu (or other viruses that we encounter in the classroom) is that we can protect ourselves from those through hand washing and refraining from touching our faces. Is that true of Covid? Nope, it is airborne. Every irresponsible decision that YOU make will impact me. We will ONLY be as safe as the least safe person around us, and with people around that are as self-absorbed, selfish, and short-sighted as you, it isn’t looking good. We will be dependent on the ability of children, as young as 4, to properly keep a mask on their faces – a feat adults haven’t even seemed to master yet. And lunchtime? Let’s just not speak on that one. We can take every precaution to keep ourselves safe and healthy, but Covid takes our control from us. THAT is what we are worried about. So no, it is not teachers’ responsibility to keep themselves safe – IT IS ALL OF OUR RESPONSIBILITIES. But, you’re to tired of dealing with your child to see beyond your own nose and be a halfway-decent human being
Again, Parent of the Year Award – yours.
Citizen of the Year Award – take it!
I would be careful with what I put out there, if I were you. One thing I know is that the universe has a way of humbling you.
I really hope my kids never get stuck in one of Dear He-Man Virtual Learning Haters Club classes. Dear lord some of these teachers need a mental health check.
@ whine with that Cheese
I said, what I said. Obviously my post applies to you, too. Education is a service. Your child is receiving that service, unless you are allowing them to be truant. If that is the case, you can forward your information to social services, as well. Teaches are teaching, working longer hours than ever, and committing their weekends to their students.
We have a right to be concerned about our health and the safety the safety of our workplace. It seems like you may be the one who needs some whine with that cheese?
Dear He-Man, Why would we have to do what Gwinnett is doing? Why couldn’t we do what Cherokee is doing? They have been extremely successful.
No one against face to face is answering my question above. All of these counties that are back in school and teachers, staff and grandparents are doing OK as far as we are hearing – and YOU KNOW we would be hearing about any death OR rise in hospitalizations splashed all across the news, AJC, etc. if they were a result of school. And those are just the local districts. How about the 100’s of thousands of kids who are back in school across the state of GA and there have been no reports of hospitalizations and deaths? These are public schools – I won’t get into private schools because apparently Dekalb’s $1 BILLION dollar budget is pennies next to what private schools get. But most if not all of those are back face to face, fully, as well.
Honest question that no one seems to answer either – at what point would you feel comfortable going back? A vaccine is between several months away and maybe never.
Agree with @F2F Option Now. Have there been any reports of significant numbers of teachers or school staff members being hospitalized or passing away from/with Covid in any districts or private schools that have opened back up, in Georgia or elsewhere? Asking seriously, as I have not heard of any, and many schools have been back to face-to-face learning for over a month now. Based on what @Dear He Man is saying, sending anyone back into schools- and only schools, apparently- right now is akin to sending lambs to the slaughter. He or she is convinced that everyone is going to get Covid & die from it, but part of me doesn’t even blame them- it’s easy to get brainwashed by all the fear porn that’s out there in much of the media. You would think we would have bodies clogging the gutters all over the country right now with what we have been led to believe Covid does. Meanwhile, DeKalb County has had (preliminarily) a grand total of 9 Covid-related deaths so far in 22 days in September. I know there are those who argue (and have in this thread) that “even one death is too many”, but I didn’t hear those people calling for shutting down schools or anything else when the Vanderlyn teacher died of the flu earlier this year. It’s a ridiculous argument, but an emotional one, which is all some people need to hear. Logic & facts frequently go out the door when emotion gets involved. I’m convinced there are people that would never believe any good news they heard related to Covid, because they have bought in fully to the fear that has been so widely disseminated around the virus. Just wish they would leave the rest of us alone!
@Easy Answer – regarding “survival” rates:
FYI, Keisha Lance Bottom’s husband “survived” Covid-19, but he is no longer able to work because of debilitating headaches:
^^ “LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Students and staff at a school in Fort Knox are mourning the loss of a school counselor, after she passed away from COVID-19.”
School was open for 2 weeks before staffers fell ill and they closed the school, and one has now died.
Finding needles in the haystack while a majority of those that contract Covid survive and are fine. Fun games. I’ll stick with the CDC statistics, you stick with Googling random stories that may or may not be relevant to survival rates of 99%+ for everyone but the elderly.
From a very left leaning Washington Post.
“..health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities.
This early evidence, experts say, suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared and could guide administrators as they charter the rest of what is already an unprecedented school year.
“Everyone had a fear there would be explosive outbreaks of transmission in the schools. In colleges, there have been. We have to say that, to date, we have not seen those in the younger kids, and that is a really important observation,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.”
And again, who is it that keeps bringing politics into the conversation? Who is it that is viewing everything through the lens of politics? You can’t seem to separate the two and THAT is the problem. THAT is why you can’t understand the anxiety and concerns of teachers. THAT is why we can’t get on the same page and work together towards a common goal. I am SO sick of hearing people talk about this virus and opening schools in terms of left and right, hearing people repeating political rhetoric, and mentioning the fact that it is an election year. WHO CARES! Teachers are worried about their health and safety and that of ALL of those that we impact.
I care about the science of this virus. I care about the community getting the numbers under control. Yes, we are on the right track, but the work is not done! I care about getting this virus to the point that teachers and families can go into a classroom without feeling as though they might be putting both their lives and livelihoods on the line. Teachers are anxious about bringing this virus home to their families. They are concerned about the potential long-term health impacts that have been well-documented – even in the young and healthy. You have lost your humanity and it is disgusting. Your intentions are showing. What happened to country over party? The only way that we will get through this is together.
Back with the TOD blog
Anecdotes And Analogies And Adverbs
The back and forth bickering between teachers, who’re getting jiggy with the whole work from home model and parents, who want a return to school because parents may not enjoy the luxury of “pay without presence” has become [en]trenched warfare.
Parents want their kids F2F in the classroom and are using many of the tried and true arguments of the great importance of socialization among their cohort and the benefits of communal settings for “collaborative” learning. Parents know that their kids learn best when they’re in a classroom with a teacher that “cares about them.” There is no more hard data supporting these conclusions now than there ever was so it is only the anecdotal mythology that is being repurposed. DeKalb’s parents are pointing to other districts with in-person classes with envy and increasing anger. Perhaps they should have made that comparison before they chose to live in DeKalb.
Teachers, spring’s heroes and fall’s traitors, were initially blindsided and faced a two-front battle. One was the ongoing “we don’t get paid enough for this,” with this being online, remote work. When confronted with the possibility that they would be required to get their asses back in the classes, teachers attempted a quick pivot to “hell no! we won’t go!” Unfortunately, their new position is undermined by their age old, self-supporting arguments.
What is missing are hard data, raw data. There is a surplus of opinion, narrative and misleading comparisons. You cannot even discuss the evaluation criteria of LMS-es without it devolving into citations of industry-self-promotional awards rather than quantifiable metrics of various systems under consideration. Those unhappy with the selection are equally at fault with nothing more than personal preference gilded with adverbs, anecdotes and vague references to everyone else.
Teachers want folks to believe that being in a classroom with the same snot-nosed kids they embraced every year prior puts them in greater risk that Father Damien. They simply cannot put together a coherent argument because in the past their rationalizations were accepted without question. No longer. When they make the comparison that they are at far greater risk, because they are around so many others, than, say a Kroger employee, most folks, especially Kroger shoppers, roll their eyes. They try to trot out studies, which must be cherry-picked as there are as many that undermine as support their position. They undermine international comparisons, where F2F schools are in operation, by suggesting these countries have better leadership. Again, by some untold metrics.
What it really comes down to is there has been a serious disturbance in the farce. Parents may still think their little precious is the greatest gift to mankind, but teachers are no longer willing to go overboard to support this notion or to leverage it to their own ends–give us more money. The pandemic has cured the Lake Wobegon Effect with parents now firmly convinced that their children are NOT going to the best school on the planet, that they are NOT getting the best education if in fact they are getting an education at all. Because they’re not going at all.
Teachers are angry at the notion they are “free daycare,” which only makes sense if you never see your property tax bill. Silence from the parents confirms the daycare assertion but teachers’ surprise is laughable. Schools have been touted, and repurposed, to address every societal ill except teaching and learning. In the spring the education industry predicted a tsunami of undetected child abuse because it is the teachers who are the [only] responsible adult in many children’s lives and they’ve taken on the role of social worker. So why NOT daycare as well? Learning fell off the To Do list when teachers shifted from “Sage on the Stage” to “Guide by the Side” and prioritized “fun” over knowledge and skills acquisition.
Teachers feel threatened and put upon. They’re pissed and they are doing what they always do, at least in DeKalb: threaten to quit.
Parents are equally if not more angry. Sure, in the past they deluded themselves into various beliefs that public schools were all good. Social skills. Best education anywhere. Athletics. There was some weird common, almost mass delusion, shared by parents and educators, all singing from the same hymnal, all preaching from a common text, speaking in tongues and spouting reflexive responsorial psalms. Hidden behind all this was a “social contract” that schools would always be there, that schools would care for (and about) their children and that they would be able to “have it all”–career and kids.
Now teachers are rethinking their careers and parents are rethinking progressive philosophies that underpin public schools. Maybe both are heading in the best direction for all of society.
@Your Intentions Are Showing
You say, “I care about the science of this virus. I care about the community getting the numbers under control. Yes, we are on the right track, but the work is not done! I care about getting this virus to the point that teachers and families can go into a classroom without feeling as though they might be putting both their lives and livelihoods on the line. Teachers are anxious about bringing this virus home to their families.”
See, the problem is, I am firmly convinced that we (the media, government, etc.) have done such a great job of scaring everyone to death about this virus that there is a large subset of society that will NEVER feel comfortable being in a setting like a classroom again, barring a 100% fool-proof vaccine- something that will NEVER exist, by the way. The flu “vaccine” is roughly 35-65% effective depending on the year, for example. It’s not a “cure”, like some people think when they hear “vaccine”. It only lessens the chance that you will get the flu, and if you do get it, that your symptoms will be milder. But yet, between 15-60K Americans still die of the flu every year.
But back to my point- we took on a strategy of scaring people in order to flatten the curve, primarily to protect hospitals & heath systems. And you know what? It worked. We never came close to overwhelming hospitals outside of NYC & a few other isolated pockets for very short periods of time. But the side effect was that we scared everyone so well that they STILL won’t go back to hospitals for care they need, cancer screenings, vaccinations, etc. They also won’t ever feel comfortable going out in public ever again- certainly not without a mask, and not around anyone else who also isn’t masked up. And that might be forever- or at least until all of our kids are out of school. It really is amazing if you think about it- a virus that per the CDC has the following survival rates- 0-19 : 99.997%; 20-49: 99.98%; 50-69: 99.5%- has completed disrupted the American way of life, and it may be that way for years to come. Never thought I would see it, but here we are. And it’s sad how many have completely bought in & apparently have no problem staying “here”.
I worked in Gwinnett for 5 years, and several of my former coworkers have been hospitalized since the reopening. Just because it isn’t reported doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. No deaths among my former coworkers, just debilitating, lingering effects.
Covid is now the FOURTH LARGEST MASS-CASUALTY INCIDENT in US History:
#4) 200,005 – Covid-19
#3) 400,399 – World War II
#2) 620,000 – Cold Wr
#1) 675,000 – 1918/1919 flu pandemic
You must not know any medical professionals if you think that the “flattening the curve” stuff worked — all the doctors and nurses I know are exhausted and completely spent.
Doh! #2 should be the Civil War.
“Thousands of students and teachers have become sick with covid-19 since schools began opening last month, but public health experts have found little evidence that the disease is spreading inside buildings, and the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities.”
from the Washington Post as reported in the AJC today.
Have any of you looking to get your kids back in school BEEN INSIDE your schools? What about the surrounding schools? I have holes in my trailer, no windows, and cannot imagine being trapped inside a trailer with students who I pray will actually follow the guidelines. Are you only thinking about yourselves? Is your school in better condition than the others? I am assuming, unless your school is 99% FRL, it is.
I respect everyone’s opinions, but please, don’t blanket statement what “should” be done. You have legitimately no clue what it’s like in different areas around the district. Our bathrooms can be broken for DAYS at a time. I have to BEG to get paper, my thermostat looked at in the dead cold of February, and send several emails to get someone to come address the fact that we have 0 soap or toilet paper.
Feel your feelings, but remember you 150% do not know the entire situation around the county, and don’t forget about those with less privilege than you.
@Holdthephone, your concerns appear to be building/facilities related and not Covid-related. Or put more bluntly, if the virus didn’t exist, would you still have these issues?
For a system with a $1.1B budget, it would appear the staff/board aren’t being great stewards of the counties funds. Your quarrels (and frankly every resident of the county) should be with them.
If a return to in-person school is conditioned upon your soap dispenser working, then the county should just sell the buildings and end public school altogether.
I couldn’t agree more with you. The problems are with the facilities. But, this is extricably linked to returning to school with the promise and hope that things will be suitable to keep students, their families, and the staff safe.
My issue does lie with the use of the funds, there’s no question about that. However, being that we’re focusing on a number and not considering the other issues tied to a safe return, this should also be in the discussion.
I brought this up for those whose children do not have this issue, hoping to show that equity issues are at play and that there are flaws in the idea of simply sending them back and hoping for the best. Perhaps the time used out of the school buildings will bring these very necessary changes.
I appreciate your comment and bringing the tangible numbers of the budget up.
It’s funny you mention medical professionals, as I work in healthcare. I’m non-clinical but work for one of the largest groups of hospital-based physicians in the country (emergency physicians, anesthesiologists, internal medicine docs, etc.). Rather than being “exhausted & completely spent”, as you assert, one of the biggest issues we have faced in the pandemic is a lack of patients. Across the country, and without exception, our ER volumes dropped between 40-60% for a few months, meaning we actually had to cut shifts (and by extension, cut pay) for doctors & PAs/NPs because the demand was simply not there. Anesthesiologists were literally sitting around with nothing to do because every hospital in America banned elective surgeries for 2 months or more. Many, many hospitals & health systems- especially in rural areas- were pushed to the brink of financial disaster or even closure due to lack of revenue and were only rescued by government bail-outs (which we will all be paying for moving forward). Many hospitals & systems- including right here in metro Atlanta- had to implement massive furlough programs & even major layoffs. Thankfully, volumes have picked back up in most areas, although almost nowhere is at pre-pandemic levels. And I know it’s strange to say “thankfully” people are going back to the hospital, but keep in mind that many of the people we WEREN’T seeing in the ER during Covid were the typical major cases like chest pain, stroke, & abdominal pain. We knew those issues weren’t just magically disappearing, so seeing huge drop-offs in patients coming in for them was extremely concerning. It pointed to the fact that people were trying to ride out major medical events/conditions at home, and in turn were having bad outcomes or even dying, all because we had scared them so much that they thought the (actually infinitesimal) threat of catching Covid in the hospital was more dangerous to them than the heart attack they were having in their living room. Not to mention all the people that skipped things like cancer screenings, physicals, & vaccinations because they were scared to see their doctors. We might not see the effects of those missed opportunities to catch issues early until further down the line, but they will be there, sadly.
Also, if you want your local hospital to be there for you when you need it, keep in mind that hospitals- like hotels- are built to be full. When they have empty beds or departments- or especially when they’re not able to perform elective surgeries- they’re losing money. Even non-profit hospitals can’t lose money forever. The saying “no mission without margin” is real.
To your other point about Covid as a “mass casualty event”, let’s at least look at it in the context of the percentage of the US population at the time that it happened. To use your figures:
#4) 206,616 (as of yesterday, updated for you) – Covid-19- 0.06% of US population in 2020 (331M)
#3) 400,399 – World War II- 0.29% (1945- 140M)
#2) 620,000 – Civil War- 1.78% (1865- 35M)
#1) 675,000 – 1918/1919 flu pandemic- 0.65% (1919- 105M)
So again, it’s very tragic that so many have passed away OF or WITH Covid- because there IS a difference, even if our stats don’t delineate that. But as a function of our population, it’s not even remotely in the same stratosphere as those other events. We would have to get to 1M deaths, for example, for it to equal WW2 in terms of percentage of the population, and 2.2M to equal the Spanish Flu pandemic, which honestly was probably under-counted considering the lack of accurate reporting capabilities during that time period.
655K people die of heart disease every year. Roughly 607K people in 2019 passed away due to cancer. 170K from accidents. 160K from respiratory diseases. 85K from diabetes. We lose between 12-60K people a year to the seasonal flu. And yet, life somehow goes on, even though we know there are actions we can or could take as individuals and as a society to prevent many of the deaths in all those categories. Would we all technically be “safer” if we holed up in our houses all the time & lived life as virtually as possible- those of us that are fortunate enough to be able to do that? Maybe. But that’s not the type of life I care to live.
Let those of us that are comfortable with the risks that so many claim come with in-person school take that risk and get back to it. Give those that are still cowering under their beds the option of staying virtual. It should be a choice, not a mandate.
I believe we need to hold the Board and DCS leaders accountable for the fact that it’s been more than 200 days without students and teachers in the schools, and these upgrades/fixes are still not happening (at least as far as we know. Stan, it would be great if you could let us know if this is not correct). What have they been doing over the last almost seven months? This is discouraging to say the very least and not to mention negligent. Where is the plan to get those buildings where they need to be? Like Common Sense said, is it time to just pack it all up and decide that Dekalb will be virtual forever more? Because that seems like their strategy at this point.
Thank you Dunwoody Dad for spelling out so logically the truth. People have been scared to death of this – and I get it, the media has made it extremely difficult to get the truth out, as for them, if it bleeds it leads. But the real truth is they should be more scared of the downstream impact of all of the crazy measures we’ve taken. Flatten the curve for two weeks is now going on SEVEN MONTHS. It’s truly hard to believe.
I’ve been in the elem, middle and high schools in middle and N. DeKalb County, volunteered hundreds of hours in each. You’re right, I haven’t gotten to see the palaces in the southern part of the county. So yeah, I’ve seen the buildings that are in disrepair.
But just a question here – do you really think that in all these other school districts soap dispensers are magically refilled 100% of the time? That everything is working perfectly? Yet they are able to get kids back into school.
It’s past time to get out kids back in school.
You are comparing the casualties of 4+ years of wars to 8ish months of deaths by Covid? Seems a bit “unfair”. Regardless, wouldn’t it have been nice to have been able to lessen those numbers of casualties? If we had some way to save lives; wouldn’t that have been wonderful?! Well, good news, we can help save lives in this Covid pandemic; virtual working and learning does help slow the spread of the virus.
Happy to share that bit of good news on this rainy Thursday.
ConcernedToo – Actually NPR reported yesterday that those staff who are fully virtual have a higher incidence of positive cases than those who are back to school full time. Hybrid actually has the worst outcome in terms of cases. This is for staff but that seems to be who people are most worried about at the moment.
I say this because I want to see us all informed…although I hate focusing on cases because it’s not meaningful. We should be focused on hospitalizations and deaths. But since Dekalb is focused on this as the most important metric to reopen then I guess that’s where we are. Anyway – just thought I would point that out.
Perhaps we are not connecting because we are looking at this from 30,000-ft.
I think there should be more discussion about the risk profiles for people. It’s misleading to say old people and young people are dying from covid. The question is how many kids and how many old people. It’s too vague to say teachers are at serious risk. We need to ask which teachers are at risk and how large is that risk.
It’s also unfortunate that we are using “cases” as a measuring stick. It’s not exactly a tragedy when somebody gets covid and is then fine. Obviously that person should isolate and wear a mask, etc … But that person who caught it and is fine is now no longer a vehicle for transmission.
I’m a teacher in Dekalb and I’m just not willing to go back into the schools yet. In fact, I’m thankful the buildings are still closed. Parents are better off working with teachers and staff to help us improve the virtual learning model instead of putting us down and calling us lazy.
@WhatGives, There are roughly 7,000 teachers. It’s extremely unfair to paint teachers with a broad stroke and say they are lazy. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been called worse … on my own blog 🙂
@F2F Option Now
Thanks for the article. Honestly, those numbers in the study are not able to provide an accurate picture of which is the best option of the three. For full time face to face in a small community with little travel, the infection rate is likely to be reported as low. Further, the article even states that it is unclear how many of the virtual class teachers are actually being required to report to the school building to teach thus increasing their exposure and potential infection from other teachers, as well as interactions to/from work that would not happen if they were leading instruction from home. The fact that the hybrid models show the highest positives leads me to conclude the hybrid schools are in higher at-risk communities while the face to face is likely in lower risk.
I do know this, I am averaging 90+% attendance in my virtual classes, many of them operating at 100%. Students completed a test today and on average the scores were 80% or higher showing mastery of the content. This virtual teaching can be done, and most importantly it’s being done while addressing the safety of the community.
I will repeat what I said in an earlier comment, we need to focus attention on getting every student a device and equally important a hotspot to connect to the internet. This is a critical element to online leaning. We can address the model as time goes on, but connectivity needs to happen now.
Teachers were told they will need to eat lunch with their students. Teachers, like others, should have a duty free lunch. At lunch, I make copies, go to the bathroom and relax. Can you ask if this is legal?
At what point do you feel you would be ready to go back into a school building with students? Is there a certain milestone or threshold that would have to be met? What if you worked in Fulton or another neighboring district that is or has already gone back? What would you be doing then? Would you have retired or quit, or refused to go back in? I understand if you are over 60 or have a serious preexisting condition which might make you more susceptible to complications should you contract Covid, but outside of that, where do we need to be for you to feel comfortable in the classroom- or even society in general- again? I’m genuinely curious.
Hey @Mary Lou, Excellent question. At this juncture, I think the logistics and specifics of who eats lunch and where aren’t thought through. Given the current formula, I don’t see how DeKalb Schools students are back in school before January. You brought up a very important question, but let’s cross that bridge when we get a little closer to it. –Stan
I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it. Teachers just want the same option that parents are being given: to stay home and teach virtually or to return to f2f learning.
It may well be that we could staff the schools appropriately for those students who will be returning, while letting the higher-risk teachers (with documented health conditions) stay virtual for those students who will not return to buildings. The problem is, no one has actually asked for that data, so it’s all just speculation.
It seems to me that if we had those real numbers we would better be able to determine if both options could work. Then most people should be satisfied. Teachers who returned to buildings could teach ONLY f2f and teachers who did not return to buildings could teach ONLY virtual, thus negating the whole “they will just be getting virtual learning in the building like Gwinnett” argument. Of course, this would require that parents make a choice and stick to it and not be allowed to change their minds (say for the rest of the year).
Unfortunately digital learning is not an aspect of your job that will work long term, if it is many of you will be looking for new jobs because districts will learn to pack classes with 60+ kids and the money will shift from salaries to technology support and technology hardware/software. That’s what the real world is dealing with with the massive furloughs/layoffs, working from home means fewer people are needed, do you really want that option parents “have” right now, I don’t think so.
@ Dunwoody Dad
You have some valid questions. I would probably feel safe when the CDC recommends that it is safe to be in large groups again. I would feel safest when there is a vaccine available. I do have an underlying health condition, however, I have a parent with a cardiac condition that I am more concerned about than myself. I get tested regularly just to make sure that I don’t spread it to my mother and other family members, even though I rarely leave the house. I have yet to go into a grocery store, and I continue to order all of my groceries online. I understand that we can’t be virtual forever, but I do think that the virus is out of control. To answer your question regarding working in a district that has gone back, I may have tried a wait and see approach, to see what happens. I expect that the larger districts will end up closing or cutting back days of instruction once they are fully reopened. Anything else, please ask.
I ate lunch with my teachers when I was in elementary school.
The laws haven’t changed. They’ll figure it out.
I agree with you, it is unfair to paint teachers with a broad stroke and say they are lazy. I never said that, I feel that many parents are exuding this type of sentiment about and towards teachers. It doesn’t make me feel better to know that people are mistreating you and calling you names, specifically on your blog. I merely wanted to express that there seems to be a lot of hatred and negativity directed at teachers during this remote situation. (Based upon some of the comments I have read on your blog) When school does reopen the same teachers who are being castigated now will also be the ones who make sure your child is safe during a fire drill or who stay late due to there being a tornado warning/watch at school and it’s time for dismissal, the ones who will hide your child from that active shooter should there ever be need for that. Parents expect teachers to lay their lives on the line for the students everyday, we need to have someone to stand up for us in the same regard. Now is the time.
I was just agreeing with you that many people seem to be painting teachers with a broad stroke.
I was just agreeing with you that many parents seem to be painting teachers with a broad stroke.
In other news, DeKalb is going through with the MAP testing online. To assure test security, only 9 students can test at once so they can be observed by their teacher on Teams. Another wasteful expenditure of time, resources, and energy that could better be spent actually prepping lessons, teaching class, and mastering the use of the virtual platforms.