DCSD Employees May Continue To Work Remotely For 30 Days

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

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

Stan Jester DeKalb Schools

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

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

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

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


Hardship Request Application

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

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

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

Noteworthy comment from DSW2Contributor about the most recent Principals Meeting

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

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

YOU HAVE TO SAVE YOURSELVES!”

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

  1. Somebody mentioned, “My principal has been fielding frantic calls all day and can’t get any answers from the Palace to clarify.” What questions need to be clarified?

    1
  2. Has a graduation date been set for this spring? I didn’t see one on the calendar. Thx.

    1
  3. I don’t recall seeing a graduation date set for any of the high schools.

    2
  4. Hey Stan,

    Thanks for asking! My question is, if you apply for a hardship request to continue working from home and it’s approved by your principal, will it impact your pay?

    12
  5. Ben Greenwald

    Stan,

    If a teacher does not return for face to face due to hardship or ADA what happens to their students that do return for face to face? Will they be moved to a new class?

    15
  6. 1. Are we able to stay remote automatically Jan 4-Feb 4 by submitting this? 1B. Can it be denied?
    2. Does this push back all phases? 2b. If this does not push back the phases will teachers that did not submit or were denied have to cover classes for those who submitted? Students can’t come back without adults.
    3. There is a lot of terminology and policy thrown in there. Will teachers/staff submitting in good faith be allowed to continue doing their job(or similar assignment) remotely for their expected pay, or should we be expecting to take leave without pay by submitting?

    Those are the big ones I’ve been hearing

    24
  7. How do I get approval to continue remotely? I am now living with my fiancé out of state as my lease ended and it seemed better to move in with him if we were going to be virtual any way

    5
  8. Quarantined since March 2020

    So, the dysfunction of DCSS finally floated to the surface for all to see.
    The push to send everyone back in groups now when the virus is spreading more rapidly and the numbers are the highest DeKalb County has experienced is not only insane but I believe all the decision-makers have had their brains snatched from their skulls. Is this idea to see how many people in the county can be infected in a short amount of time? Not one person in this county will be immune from the spread if you send all these people back into closed quarters for at least 8 hours a day. Why are they not working to bring the vaccine to the teachers? Anything less is stupid and lazy. All teachers in Clarke County were offered vaccines last week–and got them. This is the worst decision every made by DCSS. The first serious illness or death is on your heads! Even COA is waiting until February, so I read.

    40
  9. Hello @Nikki. I don’t see how the school district can impact your salary. Your salary schedule is set.

    4
  10. So is offering the hardship option to teachers (that many won’t even be approved for) DeKalb’s way of dodging the blatant fact that they’re ignoring the metric set for return of percent positivity rate needing to be under 10% (when it’s still currently over that, and has been ever since they announced return)?

    37
  11. Quarantined since March 2020

    I would also like to comment that the burden put on principals is cruel and unprecedented. Is the palace working to destroy the entire DCSS? It sure feels like it. BTW, you ruined the holidays of every teacher and staff member in the schools. While they gave up family celebrations, you are insisting they now expose themselves to a huge population of unknown carriers. How cruel, insensitive and authoritarian of those making the decisions.

    87
  12. @Stan,
    Everything you have listed under the Hardship Request Application heading, was not included in the email we received. This is the first I have seen that clarification, so that is probably why Principals have been getting questions. Additionally, what kind of documentation do you provide for these hardships?

    6
  13. Stan, why don’t you go into the building and teach the students? Hopefylly, you will get COVID-19!!!!

    5
  14. @Nik All employees accommodations should be approved. Attorneys will be needed.

    4
  15. I could be wrong, but...

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that all teachers can choose to work remotely until students can return. When students return, it’s up to the principals to grant hardship requests, which will be re-evaluated every 30 days. Although the rollout of this plan is haphazard, it makes sense. Teachers who live with elderly parents or spouses with health conditions, or teachers with health conditions, can be given some time to get fully vaccinated. Teachers with young children who can’t return to f2f (young children with documented chronic health conditions) may be able to work from home or take leave. Either way, there will be staff in the building to watch the kids, which seems to be what most parents want. People who are working remotely may be able to exclusively teach the remote students so that teachers in person don’t have to do both f2f and VL simultaneously. Several teachers have suggested this model, so maybe the district is going to encourage it.

    7
  16. DeKalb teacher

    @Jaylette… unnecessary. Even those of us who don’t always agree with Stan have to admit he is direct and transparent. Let’s have a respectful dialogue with one of the few people urging and modeling transparency.

    99
  17. I had to take ADA, leave without pay due to my health condition and the impact of CoV-19. Thank God I have short term disability. What I don’t understand, why can’t teachers who have contributed to the sick bank draw leave from the teacher’s sick leave bank? Teachers should be able to use this before using their short-term disability because once you leave the system teachers can not get the leave back. The bi-laws for the teacher’s sick leave bank should be reviewed and change during these critical times of CoV-19.

    8
  18. Michael Pastirik

    Mr. Jester.

    Happy New Year! May you have some good memories of year 2020, and, may you anticipate a great year 2021.

    Just to go on record again, I would like to briefly reiterate my previous blog entry.

    The pressures and concerns must be great, and I am appreciative of the difficulty in making the decision to return to F2F teaching/learning. However, with this written, my preference would be to delay the return process. I see a late-February or an early-March return as a better decision. Why? It will be well past the holiday travel/transmission season. More will have had the vaccine. Many/most of us have family and loved ones – vaccinating me still leaves my family vulnerable – with a vaccine, I will most likely not become sick, but I could still bring Covid home with me at the end of the school day. I know this is true regardless, but a room with a goodly number of students and possibly an additional teacher/aide for a prolonged period seems an unnecessary risk. The weather will be warmer, and all of us will be outside – more properly distanced than now. The new variant is spreading. Its increased transmissivity, but apparently not severity is a concern – but, more sick still means more hospitilizations – more demands on the healthcare system supplies, space and personnel, etc.

    For the record too – F2F instruction I believe is more effective, and I miss it.

    I will be in attendance at school on January 4, 2021 – masked and careful. Hopeful that I can avoid sickness, and that others can too.

    Mike Pastirik; Lakeside HighSchool

    34
  19. I’m concerned…why did the DCSD Board go before a minister about being dysfunctional? I am in agreement with the majority, why are we trying to get the teachers back in the classroom without students for approximately 2week before the hybrid of students return? I’m a senior citizen and I love my job, I’ve had to watch a family member with COVID-19 not feeling whether they were going to live through it! That feeling a fear of dying and the family not being able to be there for support is something I don’t want to go through that if I don’t have to. Last concern, Teachers have been furloughed during a serious pandemic, asked to return to a closed building during the peak of this serious pandemic, and possibly have to clean their own rooms with their own products with their own gloves and masks…so the question stands, Is Dekalb County Schools Dysfunctional or not? I’m CONCERNED.

    23
  20. Teacher questions

    The wording of the email makes it sound like returning to the building is optional (” Teachers and staff, who are ready to return, may do so on January 4th.”). But what if a teacher is simply not comfortable returning but does not necessarily meet one of the “hardships” listed? Would that be an “other” on the hardship form? Or is the hardship form only for once students are back in the building? Do I have to report to the building on Monday?

    31
  21. waitingforgodot

    Stan,

    Contracts include language to which everyone should pay attention. So, yeah, there are questions that need answers and information that needs clarification.

    “This contract salary may be decreased…The rate is also subject to an adjustment upward or downward…applicable to the classification and type of service to which the Employee has been assigned. The Board shall have no obligation to make up any deficit beyond such sum as may become uniformly applicable to all employees of the same group, classification, type, and length of service. The Board and the Employee agree that the salary shall be subjected to an adjustment on a pro rata basis for the number of days the Employee does not work during the scheduled days of duty due to…adjustment in official work schedule by Board action.”

    The district needs to explain what an “alternative work assignment is” and how that works. Not a question that a principal answers.

    34
  22. Stan,
    Can you explain why Dekalb leaders have chosen to create such chaos and confusion? This additional information that was sent out on Thursday evening is utterly ridiculous. Is anyone addressing why district leaders are choosing not to be transparent? Why they chose to send out this whole “hardship” option at the 11th hour adding to the confusion from the last few days before holiday break? The way everything is being handled by district leaders is unacceptable and is the main reason why employees are distrustful. I have never seen such an inability to lead and communicate from a group of individuals whose sole job is to lead by making rationale decisions and effectively communicating those decisions to stakeholders. The way this reopening has been handled is embarrassing and utterly disgusting.
    And principals are fielding questions (on New Years Day nonetheless) from frantic employees due to the lack of communication at the top (Superintendentand her cabinet). The random New Years Eve email just created more questions than answers. Someone needs to “check” those at the top. This is unacceptable and is not how an organization should be run. And if any board member thinks this is ok, then they too should not be in a position of leadership.

    64
  23. I know we are suppose to get our step in January .. Has this been addressed. So will we get it jan 15 or Jan 30

    17
  24. Follow the plan!

    Why are we not following the plan presented at the December meeting? Positivity has not fallen below 10% the entire break and is currently 12.5% meaning that the waiting period has not even begun. Asking school administration is to no avail as they receive information, such as the hardsip application, at the same time we do……

    38
  25. @Step,

    The new salary schedule is posted. It reads effective January 1st, 2021. I think the increase will be reflected on the next pay date.

    6
  26. Shady DeKalb

    @ Stan Jester,

    Can you please reply to both mine and @Follow the plan!’s messages in regards to the NEW metric for return (% positivite rate needing to be under 10%) NOT even being considered and even blatantly ignored? You may not know this answer, but as a member of the board, can you please demand an answer?! We deserve that. They are not keeping their word. We would not be allowed to do that as employees of the county, so why can they do it as LEADERS of the county? Please, as a board member, demand this answer from them and PLEASE let us know!

    33
  27. @hey now, I don’t see it where is it located

  28. Vax, leave, return?

    When will vaccinations be available to the teachers and staff? Will substitute teachers be included? I do not know of any substitutes who are willing to return to buildings without a vaccine or a positive antibody test. I have heard from some of my sub friends that they have antibodies and do not plan to return.
    Stef, if you have moved out of state you can be released from your contract.
    There is too much last minute confusion, questions unanswered, rise in cases for a reopening. Some
    Teachers are taking ADA leave or FMLA and won’t be paid while others may have a hardship and can stay home, but no one can answer their questions about pay or if they can actually work from home? Unacceptable that all this information is not available less than 48 hours prior to the RETURN to work.

    24
  29. The step increase does not take us back to the full amount it is half a step increase

    7
  30. @step2,
    It’s an entirely different pay scale. The step you get in January is still a pay reduction.

    10
  31. Can We Do Better Than This?

    While I’m very glad the administration has decided to take a different and more humane approach to teachers, the poorly thought-out, inconsistent actions of this superintendent are unacceptable. I hope this latest reversal is a sign that she’s getting wiser, but I’m dubious. – Parent

    17
  32. Always Concerned

    If it is so safe to return to school, are the school board meetings going to be in person? If not, then why are teachers being forced to return to the classroom? Does this mean that school board members are more important than teachers? Are their lives and safety more important than teachers and students?

    44
  33. Always Concerned

    If it is so safe to return to school, are the school board meetings going to be in person? If not, then why are teachers being forced to return to the classroom? Does this mean that school board members are more important than teachers? Are their lives and safety more important than teachers and students?

    13
  34. Teacher Concern #2

    ECHOING!

    The wording of the email makes it sound like returning to the building is optional (” Teachers and staff, who are ready to return, may do so on January 4th.”). But what if a teacher is simply not comfortable returning but does not necessarily meet one of the “hardships” listed? Would that be an “other” on the hardship form? Or is the hardship form only for once students are back in the building? Do I have to report to the building on Monday?

    23
  35. @Teacher Concern #2

    No, you don’t have to report to the building on Monday but you do need to notify your principal that you plan to apply for the Hardship Request. (Do this ASAP)
    Then you need to actually complete the link for the Hardship Request no later than January 8, 2021, per the Newsflash from December 31, 2020.

    5
  36. Teacher trying to keep up to date with the latest news from DCSD

    Stan,
    First I want to thank you for all you have done for so many years. I, for one, will miss this communication.
    I really need to know what the quote below means. Does it mean I can be reassigned to another school or class if I request the hardship?
    “The employee must agree to accept the alternative work assignment assigned by their immediate supervisor and that such assignment is not an adverse employment action under Georgia or federal law.”

    13
  37. January step; pay scale

    Stan,
    Can you post the January pay scale, please?

    1
  38. Vax, leave, return?

    @Teacher Trying, I think this means you could be reassigned to another teacher position or a different and lower paying position.
    Still wondering about vaccinations for teachers & staff and if they will be available to substitutes who jump
    From room to room and building to building.

  39. This pay scale looks exactly the same with the exception of the date

    4
  40. This pay scale looks exactly the same with the exception of the date

  41. Concerned teacher

    THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE CLARIFIED:

    Per Allyson Gevertz, “As stated in December, Superintendent Watson-Harris will continue to monitor the COVID situation and adjust the re-entry plan as needed. Right now, DeKalb’s number of COVID cases over 2 weeks is 617 and the percent positivity over 2 weeks is 12.6%. This is data the COVID Team is using to evaluate the return. For now, the Team is focused on Phase 1 and giving teachers the choice to return, in most cases alone, to their classrooms. All of us can help our teachers by taking steps to slow the spread of the virus.”
    https://www.facebook.com/gevertzboe/photos/a.1174344786029440/2123691121094797

    Yet, on this blog, you have stated that the return dates are “set in stone” :
    Stan Jester | December 17, 2020 at 9:42 PM |
    “Hello ConcernedParent. Really good question. I’m not sure why the administration released that 10% slide, because these dates are pretty much set in stone.”
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2020/12/12034/

    We are understandably confused. Are the dates “set in stone,” as you have stated? Or are we relying upon the <10% positivity rate, as Ms. Gevertz seems to imply? Why did Stacy Stepney spend so much time going over the metrics if we're not using the metrics? Why can we not get a straight answer from HR or the Ms. Watson-Harris?

    There needs to be ONE, CLEAR statement from the county that answers this. Instead, no one — not principals, not teachers, not parents — has clarity on what is going to happen beginning Jan. 4th.

    47
  42. @concerned teacher,
    Thank you for clarifying the obvious. Board members aren’t even on the same page. Enough said! Principals aren’t on the same page. I work at one school and kids go to a different school and the info I’m receiving from each principal is extremely different.

    21
  43. waitingforgodot

    Do people still wonder why Dekalb teachers and employees might have legitimate concerns about returning to school buildings for work and for teaching?

    30
  44. Shady DeKalb

    @ Concerned Teacher,

    This is also what myself and a few others from above have been trying to get answered. Clearly, this will not be answered. Shady, shady shit. Stan has even gone silent.

    4
  45. Do we report to work Monday if we filled out a hardship request?

    3
  46. I can tell you what I know and speculate some given my conversations. I thought there was a new formula with that 10% number, then the administration made it clear to me that going above 10% wasn’t going to prevent teachers or students from returning. It seems like those dates were set in stone. This hardship request came out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting it and nobody explained to me why they decided to do this in the 11th hour. I suspect the administration doesn’t have an answer for every what if question. They seem to be making this up as they go.

    42
  47. @ Stan,

    We don’t necessarily expect you to have the answers, as it seems they’re keeping even the board members out of the loop. We are, however, expecting you to get answers for us. You have access to admin that us normal people don’t have. We would really appreciate you asking the hard questions and demanding answers that we haven’t gotten. That’s all we are asking.

    9
  48. DCSD once again shows their true colors. No one in the district has any critical thinking skills. This is all so embarrassing. My children will be out of DCSD on Monday. We’ve spent too many days waiting on these children to be educated and enough is enough. Good Riddance.

    14
  49. Shady DeKalb. As of January 1, I am no longer a representative on the Board of Education. However, I’ll do what I can

    16
  50. My apologies, I thought that started at the end of this year. Anything at all you can find out would be better than what we already know. Thank you for your service, Stan.

    9
  51. I’m a teacher, and I’m not going in on Monday. I’m not planning on going in at all next week. If I’m asked why I’m not coming in, I’m going to say I watched a town hall meeting on December 14th where the county said the positivity rate had to be below 10% for 2 weeks, and it’s not below 10%. Seems pretty logical to me. I’m waiting for the vaccine. Why would we go back now w/ the numbers spiking out of control and a new, more contagious strain found in the United States? These people have lost their damn minds!

    47
  52. Loss for words

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

    17
  53. “ ‘The only time there’s a free bed is when a Covid patient dies’: California hospitals struggle to cope under strain of virus surge as ICU capacity in state hits zero”

    California headline. Georgia recently reported ICU beds were getting close to maxing out. We should not be opening schools in January. We will be in the middle of this mess with hospital bed availability if we are forced to go back. January is going to be a bad month for hospitals.

    16
  54. Oh my goodness I’m so confused – we were told you can stay home if you were waiting on a response for ADA or FMLA but otherwise are expected to return on Monday. There’s so much confusion around it all and I agree with others who said the county needs to send out information rather than the principals since they had no problem sending out all the other changes. A little more than 24 hours before returning to the building Monday and I have no idea what’s really going on… whew! What in the world am I supposed to be preparing for – f2f, students being moved around, virtual?

    7
  55. Almost forgot!!

    Oh my goodness. I almost forgot you were retiring, @Stan. We have truly been spoiled counting on you to keep us informed and up to date. Thank you for all you’ve done for us as teachers and for the students to at least let us know what’s going on in the District. I doubt anyone will do what you’ve done and put in the time that you have not only to post information consistently, but to answer questions in a timely manner. It has been appreciated. Relax and enjoy!

    32
  56. Vanessa Thompson

    Thank you for all your efforts, Stan!

    10
  57. Super Message

    A message from your proud Superintendent. https://youtu.be/9969ED1y0Og

    2
  58. Ben Greenwald

    What is the plan for students returning for face to face instruction whose teacher has their hardship or ADA request approved? Do they get moved to another class? Are they told they can’t return for face to face instruction? A permanent substitute for face to face instruction? DCSD has had months to get this figured out yet everything has the feel as though DCSD is making it up as they go along.

    What is the plan if either a student or teacher engaged in Face to Face learning either tests positive for COVID or is in contact with someone that tests positive for COVID?

    15
  59. Vanessa Thompson

    30 Days for Hardship.
    Begins 01/04, but when is the end?
    30 calendar days or 30 school days?

    16
  60. The problem is that Dr. Watson-Harris is trying to appease certain parents who want things to return to normal even though we’re in a completely abnormal situation. The pressure has got to be immense and I do not envy her. She knows that school personnel are correct when we say that schools should remain closed for safety reasons, but I’m sure there’s constant pressure coming from the Billboard Brigade to reopen. I think a decent plan would be to just rip the band-aid off and say that we’re not returning until after Spring Break. By then, all teachers who want the vaccine should be vaccinated and the worst part of cold/flu season will be over. Once teachers have the option to be vaccinated, that would eliminate 99% of the reasons teachers are submitting hardship and ADA requests now. Then, she could require all teachers to return and continue with a hybrid model for parents who want their students to stay virtual. The teachers who don’t want to get vaccinated will be choosing to assume the risk of returning (instead of being forced), but all teachers will be required to return to the building. For parents who are concerned about students losing instructional time, offer a face-to-face extended school year option during June and July. By then, community spread should be much lower and kids might have the option to receive a vaccine. This will give the students who had to remain virtual for the year due to health reasons 2 months of f2f instruction, and it will give parents some relief over the summer. Not sure how the budget looks, but the extended school year could also give teachers an opportunity to make up for the pay we’ve lost this year. Parents at high schools could vote to have proms, graduation ceremonies, etc. pushed back to June or July. Finally, start the school year in the 3rd week of August so everyone has a couple of weeks to breathe before next school year’s craziness begins.

    30
  61. DSW2Contributor

    New video from Watson-Harris posted about an hour ago:

    2
  62. Thanks, once more, for all the time and effort you have put in over the years, to keep the stakeholders of the system informed. Your Factchecker will be missed..

    12
  63. DSW2Contributor

    @STEF – “How do I get approval to continue remotely?”
    ————————————–
    Just submit the hardship request and notify your immediate supervisors (probably your Principal.) Doing those two things will get you 30 more days of remote work.

    4
  64. DSW2Contributor

    @Teacher questions — “The wording of the email makes it sound like returning to the building is optional (” Teachers and staff, who are ready to return, may do so on January 4th.”)”
    ————————————–
    Essentially yes, returning to your building is optional for the next 30 days — just submit a hardship form, notify your immediate supervisors, and you do not have to go back tomorrow. The Palace and Watson-Harris have not been willing to put that in writing or in a video message that the public can see, but that is the message that the Palace has been communicating to school leaders.

    8
  65. DSW2Contributor

    TEACHERS – if you are not comfortable going back, here is what you should be doing:

    (1) Submit a hardship request. Take and screenshots of every page.
    (2) Notify your immediate supervisors that you have a hardship. Do this by leaving a voicemail, then follow up with an email that summarizes your voicemail message.
    (3) Do NOT report to your building tomorrow.

    I suggest you spend your work day preparing the weeks worth of asynchronous high quality lessons that Watson-Harris described in her video message this morning.

    9
  66. DSW2Contributor

    @Ben Greenwald — “What is the plan for students returning for face to face instruction whose teacher has their hardship or ADA request approved?”
    ————————————————————–
    There is no plan.

    Principals are just expected to make it all work out ok, without any support from above. (That is the standard operating procedure in DCSD.)

    19
  67. Change the calendar

    @an Idea,

    I agree that we should extend the school year. I’m not sure it should even be optional. The calendar has already changed so much anyway. And with expecting the schools to try to figure out what to do with students who show up for school with so many teachers who might not be there, perhaps we need to make a delay until vaccines are fully administered to teachers. We can then have face to face with all teachers into the summer by having a month long break now. Teachers might still have to teach students who remain home (I am not sending mine back until they can get vaccinated), but the worry about subs and teacher shortages would be mostly solved.

    3
  68. What if I am comfortable returning to the classroom while it’s just teachers but not when students return? Will the hardship form be available to me when my children are exposed at daycare and we have to quarantine for two weeks?

    12
  69. waitingforgodot

    This is new level Dekalb dysfunction.

    How many emails, and facebook posts and blog posts and videos need to prove no one knows what’s happening and we’re moving from misinformation and poor communication to negligence?

    The district changed the virtual instruction calendar without telling teachers only days before break. Now the district has, once again, pulled the rug out.

    Final exams were scheduled for this week and next. For the parents wondering what’s happening, so are your children’s teachers. Not a good feeling, is it?

    24
  70. @ DSW2Contributor, thank you- your information has been sooo helpful!

    9
  71. I feel that DeKalb made a mistake in sending out the information on staff returning at the start of the winter break. Even the hardship request information being sent during the holiday, is not the best time to share this information. The county is closed. People are on vacation. The timing causes more anxiety and uncertainty.
    Who is advising the Superintendent?
    The way this information was shared highlights the need for DeKalb to at least look at how it is communicating with its staff. I mean this with no disrespect to anyone, but one of the main moves that DeKalb needs to make is to hire an experienced HR Chief. There are people who actually have degrees and experience in the area of human resources. How many years has this position been open in DeKalb? We are in the midst of a life altering pandemic. It is natural that people are going to want to understand their rights and options.

    Thank you Stan for being a resource. Your willingness to share information will be missed.

    35
  72. HP is making bank

    Who else had a 4 week Winter Break on their Dekalb Covid Bingo Card? Worksheets for 2 weeks? GTFO. Totally believable for this train wreck of a county.

    4
  73. DSW2Contributor

    GA DPH data as of 1/03/2021, 2:50:10 PM:

    Dekalb County, % Positive Last Two Weeks: 12.8%.

    Dekalb County, % PCR Tests Positive: 14.9
    Dekalb County, 7-Day Moving Average: 14.5
    Statewide, % PCR Tests Positive: 20.8
    Statewide, 7-Day Moving Average: 19.6

    4
  74. Let’s be clear, medical professionals haven’t received the vaccine yet in Dekalb, while others have. Teachers are not getting the vaccine this school year because of Dekalb. Bank on it.

    6
  75. DSW2Contributor

    Article about what is happening in England: “Symptomless cases in schools could be key driver in spread of Covid-19”:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/02/symptomless-cases-schools-key-driver-spread-covid-19

    6
  76. The problem is not that Watson-Harris is trying to appease parents. The problem is that decisions are not being made with ANY thought. Those waiting for a face to face option would have been just as happy with an announcement that said teachers will return at the start of second semester on the 19th and we will proceed from there. It did not need to be January 4th. The January 4th announcement created havoc and anxiety over break and has now completely destroyed whatever semblance of normalcy 1st semester had. I taught first semester. I have exams scheduled for next week. I will be scheduling optional time for my students to work with me and review this week, but all the while thinking that my students would have been best served with our regularly scheduled classes. Next week was already a half week. We should have begun planning then. I know this idea has already been floated here. My question is how can it be that what seems so obvious to those in the school house is so hopelessly out of reach to central office? Unless the idea was to make sure the virtual parents are just as unhappy as the F2F parents, I can’t understand the logic here.

    34
  77. Students don't matter

    It amazes me that of all these comments, none of you give a rat’s ass about the students. Just leave them hanging in the wind, but I’d better get my money…and I’m not going to show up if I don’t want to, so there!

    Unbelievable.

    8
  78. Was any thought given to the fact that many schools will be voting sites Tuesday (with set up tomorrow)? Poll workers and voters will be in and out of buildings increasing the number of people each will come in contact with. One more reason that starting back tomorrow is not logical.

    18
  79. Change the calendar

    @Students don’t matter,

    Maybe I should have made it more clear, but my suggestion of changing the calendar so the teachers would be there for face to face students, instead of students being moved to any room with an adult, was in the best interest of students. Delaying and going into the summer might preserve instructional time for students. I want everyone to be safe, and I worry for the staff and students who do not have hardships creating havoc for the existing safety protocols.

    It would be better for all teachers who are working remotely to be instructed to hold classes on Monday, since they do not have classrooms to set up.

    3
  80. Teachers Are People

    @Students don’t matter-

    Please stop expecting teachers to care more about our students than we care about ourselves and our families. Many of us are also parents and we have to consider what would happen to our own children if something happens to us. Statements like yours are extremely weird, manipulative, and abusive.

    66
  81. Updated Calendar

    To Stan or anyone that may know:

    Is there a link with the calendar that reflects asynchronous learning for this week. I’m talking about the January and February one that we received prior to the changes. I believed it was titled employee expanded calendar. I just wanted to know where I can find the most up-to-date version. I hate that I have to look for these documents myself.

    3
  82. From ODE
    From the desk of President Deborah Jones:

    Please do not be fooled by the message from the superintendent. DeKalb Schools administration has showed everyone their lack of respect for employees throughout these past weeks. The Superintendent made the initial announcement concerning reopening buildings 3 days before the winter break. The next communication was an email sent at 9:17 pm New Year’s Eve during the break. Today a YouTube video is released while you are still on break. In the video, she tells you that at the January 11 school board meeting, she will give you details about reopening of schools. That’s one week AFTER you are expected to return to the building. Call, text, or email your principal with the message that you will not return to the building, that you are not comfortable in that setting. Mrs. Watson-Harris and the Board do NOT respect us as employees or as human beings. This lack of respect is like leading sheep to the slaughter. If your safety were a concern for the district, Mrs. Watson-Harris would NOT ask you to come in when the numbers are so high. First, she said she would listen to the science and the recommendation of the CDC concerning the cases based on population, then it was positivity rate. Today, January 3, 2021, the cases per 100k for the last two weeks in DeKalb is 600 and the percent positive rate is 14.5. Now what or whom is Mrs. Watson-Harris listening to that indicates it is safe to return? ODE’s recommendation continues to be DO NOT GO INTO THE BUILDINGS. DO NOT ALLOW THE DISTRICT TO CONTINUE TO BULLY YOU.
    EITHER YOU ARE AFRAID TO LOSE YOUR JOB OR YOU ARE AFRAID TO LOSE YOUR VERY LIFE!
    In solidarity,
    Deborah

    53
  83. DSW2Contributor

    A new story by Fox-5, “Superintendent’s message as DeKalb County Schools continues its move toward in-person learning”:
    https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/superintendents-message-as-dekalb-county-schools-continues-its-move-toward-in-person-learning

    Note this line in the story:
    “School officials said the choice to return to classrooms is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as feedback from principals, staff, and parents.”

    DCSD’s COVID-19 Re-Opening Task Force (CRTF) is *never* mentioned in the article. Instead, the Palace again falsely blames people –our principals, staff and parents– who had zero input into making the decision. That’s standard operating procedure for the Palace.

    14
  84. Terrified Teacher

    I understand the decision to reopen is based on money. I was told that the system cannot sustain benefits if kindergarten is not open. The system is allegedly losing money.

    3
  85. Terrified teacher,
    If it is true that DCSD need kindergarten students to make the budget, only kindergarten should return. When the budget was approved that depended on using reserve money to balance it, there was no consideration that the reserve money is for emergencies. Now we have an emergency. I believe Atan votes against the budget approval for that very reason.

    3
  86. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ @Terrified Teacher – “The system is allegedly losing money.”
    ———————————————————————–
    Read what I posted back on Christmas Eve, under Stan’s previous topic:
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2020/12/12034/comment-page-4/#comment-45591

    In short, CWH announced the sudden return to F2F right after the state reported that our enrollment was down by 5.4%. Obviously, the fear of losing state funding is what is driving CWH’s decision-making.

    16
  87. Obfuscation Reigns Supreme

    Parents have no clue what Dekalb is trying to do. They have joined the teachers and obviously the Admin. in this quagmire.

    3
  88. One day while venting about the cons of teaching, my sibling sent me the following post. Anytime I am tempted to overextend myself now, I read this post, and it reminds me not to because frankly, my career is not appreciated or respected. If you are a non-teaching parent, please read it and digest it. We need to understand that teachers are people too, and teachers need to feel safe and secure while doing our jobs just like anyone else. Sorry to break it to you, but teachers have the right to put themselves and their own families ahead of the needs of YOUR child. End of story. Excuse the language of the post because there is some profanity, but it is a direct quote.

    “The “Do it for the kids!” mentality needs to stop!

    It really needs to fucking stop. From both teachers and non teachers. You know what I do this job for? The paycheck that provides a roof over my head and hot food on my table at night. Same fucking reason everyone does their job.

    Do I like my job? Yes. Do I enjoy working with kids? Yes. Do I want my students to succeed? Hell yes. But if you stopped paying me I’d be out the door the second I learned.

    This mentality has led to awful conditions for teachers. Want a pay raise? Oh I’m sorry I thought you were in it for the kids. Don’t want to work all these hours outside of contract time? Oh, but the kids would really love it. Don’t want to spend $100 on decorating every square inch of your room? The kids need a positive learning environment. Don’t want to go back to dangerous conditions? But the kids need to see their friends. Socialization is a necessity at their age.

    I am not a hero. I am not a public servant. I am not a martyr. I am a human being trying to make a living just like you. Just because I work with kids it’s not an excuse to treat me like shit.”

    If you would like to read the original posting along with the follow-up comments, it can be found at this link: https://www.reddit.com/r/Teachers/comments/hs1d91/the_do_it_for_the_kids_mentality_needs_to_stop/

    55
  89. DSW2Contributor

    In the AJC: “The DeKalb County School District has released the safety plan it will implement when school buildings reopen for in-person learning next month. The strategies emphasize that individual schools will be tasked with upholding mask use, social distancing, hand washing, cleaning, and contact tracing in collaboration with health officials.”

    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/dekalb-county-schools-shares-covid-safety-protocol-for-students-staff/IMKWATHFZVH2RDDRBLPAGK5CVE/

    2
  90. DSW2Contributor

    Wilborn P. Nobles III is the AJC reporter assigned to cover DCSD. His email address is on this page:
    https://www.ajc.com/staff/wilborn-p-nobles/
    Tell him your concerns!

    4
  91. Headline from England:

    “’Close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY’: Ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demands immediate national lockdown amid warnings pressure on NHS is ‘off the scale’ – as Boris says new curbs ARE coming but hints he will stick with Tiers“

    Keep yourself safe, teachers. The mutated virus from England is here in our country and England is closing down their schools again. ICU’s are full or close to it in our area. Our health and safety should be number 1. Schools are not safe when the number of cases is so high. There’s no reason for Dekalb to open in such a dangerous time as this. Dekalb needs to wait for the numbers to go down or vaccinations. It’s only a matter of time before the mutated virus makes its way to Dekalb :(. I do not want to be in that makeshift ICU at the convention center or have exhausted doctors and nurses responsible for saving my life. We are running out of nurses. California is out of ICU beds and has a nursing shortage. Nurses are retiring to keep themselves safe. It’s not safe enough to enter the building at this time!

    14
  92. Terrified Teacher

    So they used reserve money to balance the budget rather than set it aside for emergencies such as now? In other words we are over extended again?

    4
  93. Our buildings are ready………..
    My principal had to email us this morning telling us that the building is CLOSED TODAY because there is no heat and no electricity!
    Another school is reporting no water……

    Doesn’t look like we are ready to back in the buildings!

    33
  94. Current British headline:

    “ England goes BACK into full lockdown: Boris will plunge country into March-style curbs in 8pm TV address tonight – with fears schools will stay shut for MONTHS as COVID alert is raised to top level and UK records 58,784 new cases and 407 deaths”

    “ Is super-infectious South African COVID in the US? CDC ramps up detection efforts after new variant is declared ‘more of a problem than British super-strain’ and could be immune to vaccine”

    2
  95. I have not seen an updated calendar either. Sorry, I can’t help.

    1
  96. “The Debate About School Safety Is No Longer Relevant
    Even in places where schools want to reopen, too many teachers are sick or quarantining for classrooms to operate, and substitutes cannot fill the void.”https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/schools-staff-shortages/617465/?fbclid=IwAR2ayeM__EIqSK9a9_3Pj8gqdJq44wHRBpm8TIFUjPs4uXWtRi4RGHI8qqQ

    4
  97. @TuckerMom, That’s somewhat anecdotal, but noteworthy that absentee rates will be more than normal. Private schools are generally back face to face 5 days a week. We’ll see how that goes.

  98. I have read all of the comments and I agree with all teachers who is upset. DeKalb has been doing their teachers unfairly for years. Most parents look at teachers as high paid babysitters and not professionals. This year teacher’s had a pay cut and not a pay raise during the pandemic. Yes, teachers love teaching children, but they take a lot off of administrators who bullies their way with teachers. Teachers pay for a lot of classroom items not just for their classrooms, but for students too. Teachers are disrespected by students, parents and administrators in DeKalb and you parents think teachers are in it for the money? Teachers put out more money to just keep the classroom going as well as, provide supplies among other items to help parents who do not provide supplies for their own children. Enough is enough! It is time for DeKalb to start standing up for the teachers that are willing to stay in the county. Teachers and other people who work in the school buildings get treated like a dry leaf on the ground. They have no support by administrators, parents or county administrator. We are under paid but we work our butts off to educate children. The schools are micro-managed and teachers have no say in anything that goes on to move students to the next level in academics. Administrators and coaches have taken the joy and creativity out of what teaching is about. They want everything to be their way or no way.

    Now, since the CoV-19 numbers are higher no one in DeKalb have a plan, but to bring all teachers back into the building. However, someone came up with all of these bright plans on taking FMLA, ADA or Hardship. Some of the teachers don’t have the sick leave nor personal leave if the Hardship is not approve. So, what will you do? So, teachers will have to take leave without pay. You have all of these nice extra’s in place, but there is always a catch behind it, such as, the “Sick Leave Bank”. Teachers can draw from this because there are a lot of stipulations put in place that was changed when teachers put in 2 days of their sick leave. Also, there are many teacher who don’t know that it is still in effect. Again, it is time for DeKalb to start doing right by their teachers and stop playing games. Just be honest and think about how you want to be treated.

    19
  99. Alison Mercer

    Stan,
    Will you be closing down this website, since your Board term has ended? It wouldn’t surprise me if Dekalb County Schools forced you to. Thank you for EVERYTHING. You are a treasure. 🙂

    13

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