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. Learning Loss

    @concerned too,

    I am wondering the same thing. There wasn’t a per check on mine either and it also wasn’t on the one that was sent out in August. There was an increase that amounts to peanuts, but just like everything else that comes with this job, I’ll just smile and be grateful like a good little teacher.

    3
  2. Safety concerns

    About the pay issues–

    When I saw my pay, I was okay. I knew it would be less than last year with the furlough. I’m still thankful that I am working for a district that is keeping me safe. I’d rather get paid less than have the constant fear and possible medical bills from COVID hospitalization. However, when the bi-monthly pay was listed, it was far less. It seems like they divided my annual by 30.5, instead of 24. Fine if they plan on sending me 30 checks, but I don’t think that is happening. Is the HR department in DCSD that messed up?

    Just an addition- I’m glad we’ll be getting more class time with students.

    2
  3. payingattention

    Thoughts on payplan confusion –

    Some emails sent early yesterday seem to have had the per paycheck breakdown. The emails after the first batch don’t have the per paycheck breakdown. On at least some – and I assume many – emails, this is an example of what an employee may have seen:

    Let’s say someone was making $10,010 per year on the August pay plan, and his or her biweekly paycheck was $385. Those two things match.

    And now let’s say this person receives a step increase to $10, 270, which should make his or her new biweekly paycheck $395 per week.

    However, the payplan from the district says something like this:

    New salary: $10,270
    New biweekly paycheck: $374.

    Those two things don’t match.

    If a new biweekly paycheck were to run at $374 for 26 weeks, the new salary is $9724, a total raise 0f negative $286 per year. As in, overall, they didn’t get the raise stated in the new salary field; they lost salary somehow.

    I think much of the confusion employees are expressing comes from this kind of situation. I think the district quit sending out the payplan information at some point because the payplans were wrong. And what is strange is they were inconsistently wrong, it appears, meaning that the payplan differences were all over the place – not a uniform amount or percentage. That seems odd as I presume this is all data sitting in database somewhere.

    I think employees need to pay close attention to the next few paychecks to see if they can figure out what has happened with their salaries.

    11
  4. They Changed It

    @Concernedtoo

    The plans that were sent had an additional column with the semi-monthly check amount which was different from the ones sent last night and today.

  5. @They changed it: are you saying you got a new/additional e-mail?

    1
  6. Teacher Bitch Board

    Hey Stan –

    How about renaming your site to the Teacher Bitch Board and get it over with. Most of the teachers who post on here care about only one thing – and it’s not the students.

    Thank goodness the majority of teachers out there aren’t represented by these few…

    6
  7. And we are 4th nationally in COVID hospitalizations according to the WH Coronavirus Task Force.

    2
  8. Attention DCSD Teachers

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/kroger-gives-out-95000-gift-cards-help-metro-atlanta-teachers/B44XR4A2QNGKVCRVWWJI4S2KPA/%3foutputType=amp

    Did any teachers receive a gift card from Kroger? I just wanna make sure that these gift cards were received by teachers in the district and nothing shady happened with them. I’ve heard nothing and don’t know of anyone that received one. I figured I’d ask here, but I’ve already requested WSBTV do a follow up story on this.

    5
  9. DSW2Contributor

    My takeaways from the Principal meeting earlier today:

    (1) “Hulk Morley” had *zero* effect on CWH. (During the call, CWH and SS repeatedly used the exact same language that Dr. Morley chastised CWH for using at the BOE meeting.)

    (2) CWH claimed that her visits showed her that some schools are fully ready for students to return while others have a lot of work left to do.

    (3) Teachers and staff *WILL* be reporting to their buildings on February 3.

    (4) #3 is happening because CWH is again choosing to ignore DPH data about community spread and test positivity. Instead, CWH said we are going to focus on mitigation measures.

    I will end by pointing out that this is another one of CWH’s sudden flip-flops – just two days ago, on Monday, January 11, the AJC wrote:
    —————————————————————————————-
    “Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris announced during Monday’s school board meeting that the district will push back in-person learning by a month, to mid-February. A majority of staff will begin retuning Feb. 3 — but only if the county-wide positivity rate is no higher than 10%, she said.”
    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/dekalb-district-delays-in-person-school-return-amid-covid-19-surge/PLCWPROJTFD6NNWVJGYUK5KRNQ/

    6
  10. Gift cards – Please follow up with this. A few years back, an SRO told me that stuff like this never makes it to the teachers or the students (where applicable). Principals and the SROs would always keep these large handouts from businesses.

    7
  11. Stan this may not seem germane but I have trying to contact the board of health about a vaccine so I can go back into the school building. I just called the after hours number and all they were hired to do is tell people to go to the website. Interestingly enough I had gotten the after hours number from the website. If every other week teachers are frightened by a new set date of return the very least they can do is get teachers the medicine we need so more teachers don’t die or leave the classroom to protect themselves and their families. Most places I have seen other than Dekalb allow people to register on a waiting list so they can be contacted by the county. We have to keep checking a website. This used to be a great county to live in. If it were a business it would be downgraded to “sell to anyone foolish enough to invest in this disaster “.

    3
  12. Hey DSW2 Contributor:

    Can you comment on your understanding about teachers returning to the building?

    Yesterday, my principal told us in very exacting words that we were required to be in the building EACH day during our contracted unless we had filled out a hardship form.

    Is that your understanding as well? No hardship form, show up?

    Seems like those of us trying to do the right thing are being penalized. Typical.

    1
  13. @Teach1
    How are you being punished? Anyone could have submitted a hardship and it was going to be approved regardless. This was said numerous times in so many words even in the super’s video. The deadline was the 8th and anyone not submitting the form would be required to work from their work site. Simple. DSW2 contributor emphatically told everybody to complete it in this very forum.

    5
  14. Please Provide Clarity

    @Teach1
    Are you implying that those who filed for a hardship, ADA, FMLA were NOT doing the right thing? Please provide clarity before assumptions are made by other posters.

    2
  15. “ Georgia reported the fourth worst rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the country last week, a federal report said, and the worst is likely still ahead.”

    AJC headline today. Why do we have to keep reminding our community leaders that we are humans and not Supermen? Teachers are humans and we might die if we are infected.

    When will the governor give the order: if you can work from home, then work from home. When is the governor going to be a leader? It’s on him now, with the high hospitalization rates and bad leadership at the county level. Our superintendents are putting our lives at risk for their own image/career. It must stop!

    Another headline:
    “ Texas woman, 40, becomes first American to die from UK ‘Super COVID’ – as two highly contagious US strains of the virus are detected in Ohio sparking fears that infection rate could explode ”

    3
  16. Thank you for having had a space for truthful discussion and opinion without repurcussion. I am so sad (selfishly) that you are no longer in the board. I was hoping you would be able to shed some light on upcoming mandatory trainings. Enjoy your retirement!

    3
  17. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ @Yes – “When will the governor give the order: if you can work from home, then work from home. When is the governor going to be a leader?”
    ——————————————-
    That is not going to happen.

    As I type this, Governor Kemp is delivering his State of the State address. He is bragging about his reopening the state and saving businesses.

    4
  18. https://youtu.be/3sGeEgMtuCs

    Thank You, Stan, for everything. I look forward to continuing to follow your excellent blog site. Thank you for keeping Free Speech alive.

    3
  19. @ DSW2Contributor- I can’t believe Kemp is just going to pretend like things aren’t as bad as they are. I know several people right now with coronavirus and they have children. I’m guessing their children are bringing it home from school. I understand private business being allowed to open, but if you work in an office or school and you can work remotely, you should. Kemp needs to say it because there’s a lot of craziness out there with people comparing this to the flu.

    New headline:

    “Things are as bad as ever…and are going to get worse’: COVID expert’s dire warning as CDC projects another 92,000 Americans will die in next THREE weeks as death toll nears 385,000
    CDC predicts that the US COVID-19 death toll could rise by 92,000 to 477,000 by February 6
    Nearly 4,000 more Americans died of the virus on Wednesday and another 232,000 case were found
    The US recorded it’s deadliest day of the pandemic on Tuesday, with a record 4,197 COVID-19 fatalities
    In the past week, deaths are up by at least 10 percent in half of all US states
    They have soared by a staggering 203 percent in Alabama over the past seven days
    Alabama has administered the lowest number of COVID-19 vaccines in proportion to their population
    Just 1,714 per every 100,000 Alabama residents have received a shot, according to data obtained by The COVID Tracking Project”

    2
  20. District remains virtual for now

    https://www.wabe.org/dekalb-county-schools-district-remains-virtual-as-covid-19-positivity-rates-rise/

    ‘Watson-Harris also shared that, as of right now, teachers are expected to return to in-person teaching on Feb. 3 and students who have opted for in-person class instruction will return two weeks after.’

    1
  21. DSW2Contributor

    WABE’s Rose Scott interviewed CWH today:
    https://www.wabe.org/dekalb-county-schools-district-remains-virtual-as-covid-19-positivity-rates-rise/

    Much of what CWH said during the interview had already been posted here on Stan’s Factchecker. My takeaways:

    (1) CWH confirmed (in public) that there was no approval process for the hardship forms; anyone who requested a hardship was granted the hardship according to CWH.

    (2) CWH also said the hardship forms were for teachers who “needed a little more time to get their affairs in order.”

    (3) Everyone is expected back in their buildings on February 3… but immediately after CWH said that she added “as of now”.

    (4) CWS said that 50% of the teachers at one DCSD school applied for the hardship. The Principal told CWH that she thought the teachers were afraid because of long-standing air quality issues at the school; CWH said she immediately commissioned an air quality study (study, not physical improvements.)

    3
  22. Mercurial Management

    So cheerleader is not following any metrics. She has thrown out 10% positivity rates. Students are returning regardless of pandemic stats. two weeks after Feb 3rd.

    2
  23. DSW2Contributor

    ^ @Mercurial Management — “So cheerleader is not following any metrics.”
    —————————————————–
    True.

    However I give CWH a lot of credit for postponing the return of students for another 5 weeks. I think she is doing a much better job than the other metro area superintendents (Dr. Beasley excepted.)

    Look at other local school districts and you will see some real cray-cray decision making. APS students start returning to F2F in just 10 days; APS’s plan for social distancing is to hope that kids who signed up for F2F don’t actually show up for F2F. Seriously — APS actually told the AJC that:
    —————————————————–
    At many schools, fewer than 30% of students plan to come back, with the rest opting to remain virtual. APS officials expect some who said they want to return will end up staying home, reducing numbers further.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/atlanta-school-buildings-prepare-to-reopen-in-late-january/2XEMATA47BAIPJKPSRXAGPWPLM/
    —————————————————–

    1
  24. Virginia James

    Changing topics for a minute. I got a timesheet form in my email today. What is with that? It had no explanation and there were blocks to explain what we did with our time during the day. If it is just an electronic daily sign in sheet that’s fine. However without an explanation this seems intrusive.

    Also I keep trying to find out if Dekalb HR has received my ADA request with zero success. Nobody seems to be in their offices and in one case I can’t leave a message because the voice mail is full.

    Stan thank you for this message board. I don’t come to complain but to get information that I am not getting anywhere else. A brief thought for those of you who come here to complain about teachers I would invite you to walk a mile in my moccasins. I am not going to waste my time listing all I do every day or how I struggle with incompetent technology. I just invite anyone who thinks we don’t care about our kids to spend time with a teacher and see the real story so you don’t have to make up a fairytale where teachers are selfish and only care about paychecks and their own issues.

    11
  25. Hindsight is 20/20

    I do agree that it feels like those of us that didn’t fill out hardship form are being penalized, but disagree with @teach1’s response about trying to do the right thing.

    Yes, hardship was a personal choice based on your current circumstances and each person had to decide if your reasons warranted one. I was/am scared to work in my school because I knew it wouldn’t be ready and honestly don’t trust the HVAC systems. I’ve had friends at neighboring schools tell me horror stories about their principals basically discouraging hardships and making them feel guilty for considering one. Every school seems to be doing their own take on whether we show up or not. I’ve heard a mix of reporting at school all 5 days to partial weeks in the building to completely virtual.

    When hardships were an option, the district seemed hell bent on returning to in person and I thought “This is it. They don’t care and it’s finally happening” and there’s no point of doing a hardship now if I’m to adequately prepare for my students return in a matter of weeks. So I didn’t fill one out despite my feelings on our school building not being ready to receive kids. Plus, when I first initially made my decision I was given the impression from my principal that they all weren’t going to be approved so I didn’t want to take away from someone that truly needed one. The other thing that kept me from signing at the time was the part where you had to review the districts policies and basically acknowledging that they can change your position or what have you. I don’t live in Dekalb and didn’t want to risk being sent elsewhere only to increase my commute time later down the road. So it wasn’t as simple as filling out a piece of paper like some claim it is. You always need to read the fine print!

    If safety and the positivity rate are such a concern now, I don’t see any problems allowing teachers that did show up the option to work from home until everyone is required back especially if decisions changed after the hardship deadline. With all of this bait and switch the district continues to do, I honestly should’ve known better and just filled out a form. They seem to be doing what they want when they want with these reopening decisions and with our pay.

    I’d much rather be allowed to work comfortably and safety in the confines of my home until I’m absolutely forced back into the classroom. I’ve actually been less productive now than I’ve been while at home because I refuse to transport all of the items I need back and forth until I’m certain this is definitively happening.

    Sorry. I’m all over the place with my response. I have many mixed feelings about all of this.

    22
  26. New headline about post-Covid lungs. It’s not ok if you get Covid. It can have lasting damage to our bodies. Any exposure is dangerous:

    “Post-COVID lungs are FAR worse than ‘any type of terrible smoker’s lungs’ with severe scarring and damage
    Dr Brittany Bankhead-Kendall, a trauma surgeon in Texas, showed three lung X-rays: one of a healthy patient, one of a smoker and one of a COVID-19 patient
    The X-ray of the healthy patient had a great deal of black space, showing they were able to inhale normal amounts of oxygen
    The smoker’s X-ray had some haziness while the COVID patient’s X-ray looked almost completely white
    Lung opacities usually indicate the lungs are full of things such as fluid or bacteria as well as dense scarring and damage”

    10
  27. Kind.educator

    @Hindsight is 20/20 the district can change your school location at any time. Our contracts are for the district, not for our school specifically. 2 years ago, at least 13 teachers were sent from my school to other schools around the district. It was done in the middle of the 1st semester and they gave them like 2 days to report to their new location.

    3
  28. Hindsight is 20/20

    @Kind.educator

    I realize this, but something just doesn’t jive right. If that’s already put in a teachers contract, then there shouldn’t be a need to put it on the hardship form. I posted prior to the last board meeting that it appeared the board was reviewing/amending policies that related to employment based on what I saw on the agenda. I need to go see what exactly came of this , but found it rather interesting it came after the hardship deadline ended.

    3
  29. Is there live class next Wednesday, January 20th?

    Rumor is that next Wednesday, January 20th will be a regular school day just this once. It was a scheduled day for a cohort to come to school on the return to school plan for January 19th. Since that plan has been delayed does that change the calendar?

    Everyone will have new schedules next week and be told just to attend this one time on a Wednesday.

    Seriously, how much more confusion and uncertainty can you place on people? Obviously, this is something Dekalb does well during a pandemic or not.

    5
  30. @Uncertainty: Yes, we were told today that there is live class this coming Wednesday.

  31. Each day in Georgia continues to break records with this virus, yet that vile F2F group has a new petition. I do not understand how a group of adults can be so completely out of touch with reality. Did they not just see the reason Gwinnett went back to virtual? NEWSFLASH: DeKalb is not going to open because of your stupid petition, or your grammatically incorrect billboard, or your new attempt to not pay your property taxes because your kids aren’t in a classroom. But sure, keep posting in your echo chamber about how unfair this pandemic is to YOU.

    23
  32. @SMH, they are all over Facebook too. They think their children are more important than our lives. It basically boils down to them thinking they are better than everyone els. It’s extremely childish, immature, and does not show their children how to be empathetic towards others. I’m not surprised at all after everything I have seen as a teacher. Everyone is sacrificing something right now, but to ask us to die so that their child can be in a classroom? Seriously? Where were you raised to have that mentality??

    19
  33. Cobb schools cancel in-person learning for next week.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/cobb-schools-cancel-in-person-learning-for-next-week/NN5YJKM7VFH3LHGFTWJNEULYOA/

    ‘Cobb’s move comes days after Dr. Janet Memark, district director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department, encouraged parents to consider virtual learning due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the county.’

    9
  34. DSW2Contributor

    Washington Post article “Vaccine reserve was already exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expanded access”:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/15/trump-vaccine-reserve-used-up/

    2
  35. DSW2Contributor

    The newly elected chair of the City Schools of Decatur BOE revealed she has the coronavirus during a meeting this week:
    https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/decatur-school-board-chair-shares-covid-19-diagnosis-at-jan-meeting/HSOTZSBOMRCRBKDXW3R4ECASRE/
    Decatur BOE convened in part to discuss reopening plans….

    2
  36. Changes Like the Weather

    Who does this sound like?

    1
  37. DSW2Contributor

    @SMH – “yet that vile F2F group has a new petition. I do not understand how a group of adults can be so completely out of touch with reality”
    ————————————————————–
    One of the F2F groups was yelling on Twitter demanding that school districts *stop* covid testing because covid testing was causing teachers to be sent home for two weeks.

    Reading that made me understand why their kids are not learning at home!

    23
  38. Has there been any discussion of the District assisting teachers 65+ obtaining the vaccine?

    8
  39. DSW2Contributor

    ^ @Maisy –
    Governor Kemp says there are over 2,000,000 Georgians eligible to receive the vaccine but the state is only receiving 120,000 vaccinations doses per week.
    https://twitter.com/GovKemp/status/1350265565097680896

    At this rate, the current (2020-2021) school year will over before everyone in Group 1A is able to be vaccinated.

    5
  40. DSW2Contributor, Do you have a link to the group that was endorsing no testing. People are all over the place with their thoughts and feelings. Seems hard to believe that an entire group of F2F people want to stop testing.

    2
  41. DSW2Contributor

    A paywalled article in today’s Wall Street Journal:
    ————————————————————
    Europe’s Schools Are Closing Again on Concerns They Spread Covid-19
    Countries are abandoning pledges to keep classrooms open as concerns mount over children’s capacity to pass on the virus

    BERLIN—As U.S. authorities debate whether to keep schools open, a consensus is emerging in Europe that children are a considerable factor in the spread of Covid-19—and more countries are shutting schools for the first time since the spring.

    Closures have been announced recently in the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands on concerns about a more infectious variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. and rising case counts despite lockdowns.

    While the debate continues, recent studies and outbreaks show that schoolchildren, even younger ones, can play a significant role in spreading infections.

    “In the second wave we acquired much more evidence that schoolchildren are almost equally, if not more infected by SARS-CoV-2 than others,“ said Antoine Flahault, director of the University of Geneva’s Institute of Global Health.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-schools-are-closing-again-on-concerns-they-spread-covid-19-11610805601

    9
  42. @Stan – asking DSW2 for their twitter sources? Like Twitter is representative of real life?

    You and this site provide biased and misinformation to people with mental health issues. Congrats, you now understand how the cult of Trump exists. Just look in the mirror.

    1
  43. How can you compare DeKalb & Europe?

    @DSW2 –

    “Europe’s Schools are Closing Again.” Smart move. They started classes IN PERSON and then were able to close when it got bad without the students losing too much.

    DeKalb – couldn’t get past the fear of their own shadow and CONTINUE to hurt the students. Will end up not returning for this year and possibly starting late (if at all) next year.

    11
  44. @How can: Many European countries also closed down and still have closed down restaurants, bars, non-essential businesses so that schools could stay open. They also paid the non-essential furloughed workers. They have also had complete lockdowns several times during the pandemic, and national mandates about masks. Children stay with the same people all day, whether they are in elementary, middle or high school, so the mingling of different people is greatly reduced. In the US we have decided to act like there is no pandemic and that life can continue as normal. That is why we are in the situation we are in as a more contagious variant is about to greatly increase cases and deaths. We are still debating what to do, and Europe is closing its schools.

    21
  45. Gwinnett Teachers Speak

    https://www.ajc.com/news/pandemic-social-issues-push-more-gwinnett-teachers-to-speak-out/BAZF5GLQUFB2VG6MHZJM52JNBU/

    “If you are so unhappy with GCPS, we could accept your resignation at any time,” Wilbanks said, prompting gasps from the crowd and a parade of speakers the following month who accused Wilbanks of threatening and intimidating teachers.

    7
  46. DSW2Contributor

    A really scary article in The Telegraph with data from England:
    ————————————————————————–
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/17/almost-third-recovered-covid-patients-return-hospital-five-months/

    Almost a third of recovered Covid patients return to hospital in five months and one in eight die

    Research has found a devastating long-term toll on survivors, with people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic conditions

    Almost a third of recovered Covid patients will end up back in hospital within five months and one in eight will die, alarming new figures have shown.

    Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus, with many people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions.

    Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died.

    The current cut-off point for recording Covid deaths is 28 days after a positive test, so it may mean thousands more people should be included in the coronavirus death statistics.
    —————————————————————————–
    Read the full article – it has more details and graphs.

    7
  47. DSW2Contributor

    In the Marietta Daily Journal:
    —————————————————————-
    A new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus has been found in Cobb County, according to Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb-Douglas Public Health.

    “They may not be more deadly, but they can make you sick enough that you get hospitalized,” Memark said at a virtual vaccination-themed town hall Tuesday evening. “And so if this takes over our county like (Los Angeles) County, we’re going to be in — I mean, just the most dire situation.”
    —————————————————————-
    https://www.mdjonline.com/news/cobb-prioritizing-second-dose-patients-more-infectious-variant-found-in-county/article_3973da76-5ab5-11eb-a65d-d7291bf48b84.html

    3
  48. Fingerprinting

    I was supposed to get fingerprinted this week in order to renew my teaching certificate. It appears our Office of Public Safety had a positive Covid case. I had to reschedule my appointment because their office is going to be closed from January 12-25. SMH….And teachers are somehow equipped with preventing Covid in the classroom…

    35
  49. Fingerprinting has a good point. The Office of Public Safety is an “all adult” office. Surely mask wearing can be enforced.

    The main area isn’t especially crowded and employees can be socially distanced.

    Yet Covid still gets in. I hope the employee recovers well.

    16
  50. @Still SMH, to answer your question, there are too many chiefs. The Central
    Office costs more money than employees in the schools.

    12
  51. DSW2Contributor

    Back in July, Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Delivered Remarks on Schools Reopening:

    11
  52. A paraprofessional died as well, so that makes 3 educators in Cobb alone now.

    2
  53. Sadly, This is Just The Beginning

    2 Cobb educators die from COVID-19

    3
  54. DSW2Contributor

    WSB-TV: 2 Cobb County teachers have died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours:
    https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/gods-hands-now-2nd-cobb-teacher-dies-covid-19-another-icu/Z5KS7VE23RG3FBM76EZ3Q7BYHQ/

    Their names:
    Dana Johnson – a first-grade teacher at Kemp Elementary School
    Cynthia Lindsey – a parapro at Sedalia Park Elementary
    Patrick Key – Art teacher at Hendricks Elementary School (died Christmas day)

    4
  55. Learning Loss

    So basically teachers are returning to administer MAP (for gifted eligibility), Access, and benchmarks? Then, just say that! Why any of these assessments are being administered during a freaking pandemic is beyond me and is utterly stupid. THIS is what’s wrong with education. I’m so over it!

    21
  56. Learning loss

    Learning Loss – ACCESS and EOC are being given because the federal government mandates them. Last spring they waived them but not this year. Maybe the new federal administration will – someone needs to ask again. Becky Devois is gone, let’s ask the new US secretary of education.

    10
  57. Who do I contact Stan?

    Stan who do I direct my inquiry to in regards to teacher gift cards? Is there a certain department?

    3
  58. Learning Loss

    Yes, I’m aware. I teach. Again, they can just say we need teachers back to administer these assessments. There is absolutely no need for MAP and benchmarks at this time. And hopefully Cardona will do what’s in the best interest of students by waiving the others. We shall see.

    6
  59. DSW2Contributor

    Video clip from WSB-TV of Cobb teachers protesting today:
    https://twitter.com/ChrisJoseWSB/status/1352399284273033218

    3
  60. I also had to reschedule my fingerprinting appointment due to the Covid outbreak. I have been teaching in DeKalb County for 33 years, my fingerprints have not changed. Why do I have to risk my life to get fingerprinted again? Why do I have to risk my life to go back into a classroom? This is a pandemic, something that no one in this lifetime has experienced. We don’t know what is happening. Yet we are behaving as if it’s something that we understand. This pandemic is bigger than us. It is about time that we start behaving accordingly. People who want children back in school, what do you think is going to be accomplished?

    20
  61. Hmmm…some things about my wife’s experience back at school in DeKalb this week:

    1. Her room has been freezing all week, and now she has a terrible cold.
    2. Students are unable to access her classes in Verge.
    3. Her desktop computer runs slowly and freezes often.
    4. The desktop will no longer recognize her flash drive that she has used on it for the past 4 years.
    5. When she went to another hall to speak with a teacher, an administrator came over the intercom and bitched her out for not following “safety protocols”. She was told that she had to stay in her room, but could go to the bathroom on her hall, to the front office if summoned, and to the workroom to sign in/out. (Yes, she is still signing in/out with a pen on paper that everyone touches!) She was told that an administrator was monitoring staff compliance with safety protocols “24/7” via the cameras throughout the building and that further violations would result in “appropriate documentation to the County”.
    6. A teacher was sent home for wearing blue jeans.

    DeKalb does NOT have its act together to reopen schools, but it does have its act together to terrorize/dehumanize its staff. Any employee who is able should get the hell out of DeKalb County Schools. The people in charge do not give a fuck about the well-being/health of their staff. There is no reason for anyone to be back in the schools at this time. NO REASON.

    And it is not only the fingerprinting place that has been touched by COVID and that will reopen Monday, I understand, with limited staffing. I heard it is also Towers High School where staff have not been informed that they were in contact with a staff member with COVID who was allowed back into the building to get his personal belongings and talked with several people before exiting.

    And I heard that DeKalb Schools has access to the vaccine and is doling it out in a very selective and secretive manner, but have you heard a peep about any sort of “plan” to get it to teachers who are being forced back into the school buildings?

    DeKalb County Schools is a failure of monumental proportions. How soon will we start seeing the pictures of dead teachers online? But the administrators in DeKalb Schools won’t give a fuck about that.

    I am unsure what they DO give a fuck about other than themselves and their (ab)use of their power.

    30
  62. Several people who had to go to DCSD’s public safety office to get fingerprinted for certificate renewals were informed that they were exposed to COVID, and now they have to quarantine for 10 days. If they can’t even get it together at the public safety office, how are we supposed to trust that they have it together at schools? This is ridiculous.

    27
  63. DSW2Contributor

    Study: Children much more likely to spread COVID-19 to others

    An analysis shows children are a higher risk factor for spreading COVID-19 than adults over 60, despite having more asymptomatic or mild cases than older adults.

    While children are less susceptible to illness with the new coronavirus, they are nearly 60% more likely than adults over 60 to infect other family members when they are sick, a new study shows.

    The findings show the need to conduct COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy studies in children, according to co-senior study author Yang Yang, an associate professor of biostatistics and member of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida.

    “We also need to take into account the potential high infectivity of children when we plan school reopenings and what prevention measures we need to take during active school sessions,” Yang said in a university news release.

    https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/01/21/Study-Children-much-more-likely-to-spread-COVID-19-to-others/1661611238535/

    12
  64. DSW2Contributor

    From WSB-TV’s Chris Jose:
    “I would say to the leaders of the Cobb County School District that they have blood on their hands. All three of these deaths are their fault.”
    – the family of Patrick Key, the Art teacher at Hendricks Elementary School who died Christmas day
    https://twitter.com/ChrisJoseWSB/status/1352716447655583756

    12
  65. “New variant strain of coronavirus confirmed in Metro Atlanta, anticipated to ‘spread quickly’ “

    From.11 Alive

    6
  66. Sad & Shakin' My Head

    @DSW2Contributor

    Dana Johnson was a tremendous teacher. She is also a former DeKalb County educator who served DeKalb Schools for many years at Atherton Elementary and DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts (DESA) before going to Cobb Schools. Her former colleagues and students are saddened and devastated at her passing. Please keep Dana, her colleagues Cynthia Lindsey and Patrick Key, and their families in your prayers.

    It is incomprehensible that administrators are still pressuring teachers back into the school buildings. This is a pandemic where a highly contagious virus is causing rampant devastation. We know that in-person learning is best for students, BUT it’s just too dangerous at the moment! Teachers and parents are fearful at the prospect of returning to f2f. I am praying that DeKalb admin will make the courageous and right decision to delay the return of teachers and students to school buildings.

    31
  67. DSW2Contributor

    @Stan Jester – “Do you have a link to the group that was endorsing no testing. People are all over the place with their thoughts and feelings. Seems hard to believe that an entire group of F2F people want to stop testing.”
    ———————————————–
    Stan, sorry I haven’t had the energy to dig thru twitter comments to answer your question.

    However, I was listening to GPB today (Jan 22, 2021) and the Marketplace show had an interview with the CEO of “Girls Who Code”:
    https://www.marketplace.org/shows/marketplace/
    At the 22:07 mark, the CEO says “So many moms I know they say we don’t need a vaccine, we need schools to open and when schools reopen we can potentially get our labor participation back up.”

    3
  68. Not pleased with CWH

    I just read the newsletter the CWH sent out on Friday she is contradicting herself it at the top of the newsletter she said she will give staff and students a two week notice before returning to school but then at the bottom you say teachers be ready to return February 3. Now according to CWH nobody would return until the positivity rate was under 10%. But I guess CWH won’t be happy until she is like all the other school systems. I think someone needs to talk to her and tell her they will get rid of her in Dekalb so fast it will make her head spin. Get it together CWH

    23
  69. @absolutely disgraceful- good. Now the whole world can see how horribly disrespected teachers are in Georgia.

    13
  70. Deeply Disturbed

    WE ARE CHATTLE, REPLACEABLE, A DIME A DOZEN

    10
  71. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/24/us/politics/student-suicides-nevada-coronavirus.html#click=https://t.co/4WDU83V1dw

    It’s real easy for some educators to blast parents as “wanting to get back to their brunches at the country club”, just as its easy for some parents to blast educators as “wanting to phone it in” (some from other states, as they’ve said so much as on this board) for the rest of the year.

    But I think trends like whats happening in Clark County, NV with regards to teenage (and younger) suicides can give us all some pause to realize there is much more nuance that needs to be considered with regards to the argument of “what’s a couple more months of remote school”?

    2
  72. Safety concerns

    I do worry about the children’s mental health and suicides. I worry about abuse. I’m torn on whether requiring cameras on will cause more distress to students who might be embarrassed to share their living space, even if it gives teachers a way to spot and report abuse. I worry that students who need education services aren’t getting the help they need. But instead of the blanket approach to sending kids back en masse, we as a district should have a targeted approach. Social workers can make a plan for adults to connect to students regularly to talk one on one. Maybe bring students with IEPs into the building to work with willing special ed teachers to facilitate their digital learning, so that there can be real distancing. The school can create social periods for students who want to connect with others so they can do so safely. An online recess? My own son looks forward to when he meets with his cousin on Zoom to talk and play Roblox. My daughter plays with the girl across the street. They play and shout from their respective sides of the road. We can do more, and still maintain safety.

    4
  73. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ Jesus Christ, @Heartbroken, where the eff were you when Dekalb students were committing suicide during F2F classes?

    August 31, 2018 WSB-TV article:
    —————————————————————————————
    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A local mother says her teenage son was so verbally abused by one of his teachers that he tried to take his own life.

    DeKalb County School officials confirm they have opened an investigation into the incident.

    The teen’s mother, asking not to be identified, told Channel 2’s Michael Seiden that, luckily, she was home and rushed him to a nearby hospital.

    https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/dekalb-county/mother-claims-teacher-s-verbal-abuse-pushed-teen-to-attempt-suicide/824903498/
    —————————————————————————————

    5
  74. DSW2Contributor

    Or how about the time when the evil F—ers in the Palace tried to blame a child’s suicide on his mother? AJC article:
    ————————————————————–
    DeKalb County school officials on Wednesday released a final report on the suicide of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera, saying his death could not be attributed solely to “a simplistic case of bullying.”

    “The investigation reveals a multitude of complex and significant factors impacting” his life, the report said, including “serious domestic abuse” between Jaheem’s mother and her boyfriend.

    This marks the first time family violence has been mentioned as a possible factor in the boy’s emotional state.

    Jaheem hanged himself at home April 16.
    https://www.ajc.com/news/local/dekalb-school-final-report-bullying-not-key-factor-boy-death/mTbeGbgpCaIcAW5Szj3ZJL/
    ————————————————————–

    5
  75. I want to quit but I am determined to finish the year for my kids to have continuity this year and for my own self esteem. I am not a quitter. I want to cry as I read the different stories contained in these letters. I want to scream at the county administration for their obvious lack of concern for teachers and their families. I want to hug parents who are truly struggling with their special education children because it is not an easy row to hoe. Special people become special Ed teachers; it’s not for everyone. I am furious with parents who are disrespectful to and about teachers. If you think our jobs are so easy, why don’t you want to keep your children safe at home and teach them yourselves? And if you believe your children’s education is so important why don’t you make sure your children are in class? Why do allow them to “have other things to do”, as one of my students told me recently to explain why he got to class minutes before the class was over.

    I know I am rambling but so much is spinning in my mind. I have been teaching off and on for 50 years and having to leave at the end of the year makes me so very sad, but I have no choice. “If I am not for myself, who will be”?

    13
  76. Parents, the community and administration are going to be stunned when they see how many teachers do not sign a contract in the spring. Everywhere I read online teachers are changing their careers, retiring or moving out of state. Again, I watched the news last night and it was filled with hate towards teachers. I’m glad Chicago teachers refused to return to the classroom. I wish we had a union like they do. Move to a state with a union if you plan on teaching next year! I hear it’s wonderful to have a union and parents and administrators have no choice but to treat you respectfully because they are afraid of the union.

    22
  77. *newsflash for the superintendent and BOE*
    We are not supposed to eat indoors with anyone other than our household. COVID spreads when people eat indoors. We should not have to be in a room with students who are eating unmasked. This is current information so the DeKalb superintendent must be aware. 90% of all ICU beds are full in Georgia. BOE and the superintendent will be responsible for any lives lost due to us eating lunch in the classroom. If we get sick will there be an ICU bed available?

    18
  78. DSW2Contributor

    “Indoor dining isn’t safe unless you call it ‘school lunch’.”
    — Justin Feldman, Epidemiologist of social inequality and state violence, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard
    https://twitter.com/jfeldman_epi/status/1341768017047379971

    CWH, when you read this, please realize that Feldman is being sarcastic!

    9
  79. DSW2Contributor

    Justin Feldman also wrote “Coronavirus Is an Occupational Disease That Spreads at Work”:
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/01/covid-19-business-work-public-health

    That article is published in Jacobin magazine, which is described as “a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.”

    3
  80. Can someone please explain why K-5 students are being forced to take the NWEA MAP Reading and Math tests Face-to-Face? The reasoning is that these tests are used for magnet school and gifted placement. I get it. But we are in the midst of a pandemic. According to a survey, most parents at my school did not elect face-to-face instruction. So what makes the county think that parents want to send their children to school to take a test face-to-face, with up to 15 other students in a poorly-ventilated classroom?

    9
  81. @Teach1
    Short answer: money!

    8
  82. Dekalb Always Shirks Responsibility

    Has Dekalb even answered those applying for ADAs? Seems to me they are just running out the clock and avoiding decisions for vulnerable teachers. Send everyone back..despite pre-existing conditions…is their motto

    7
  83. Unless Dekalb can offer a way to safely eat indoors, we should not open. Not even adults only. Dekalb is knowingly putting employees at risk of death by not being able to provide a safe way to eat breakfast and lunch. No public indoor dining is safe. Dekalb needs to provide outdoor tents for dining. Please document any unsafe situations Dekalb puts you in, such as having to eat in a room with another person. We should not be in a room with anyone who has their masks off. Document date, time. You or your family might need that information if you are negatively affected.

    14
  84. @Teach1: Students DO NOT have to go into the building to take MAP testing. Families can opt out. CWH said it in the last newsletter. In any case, the district cannot force any student back into the building, only staff.

    4
  85. Region 1 Teacher

    @Dekalb Always Shirks Responsibility

    Like many older teachers with underlying conditions, I submitted an ADA Waiver. I sent it in mid-December and got an autoresponse confirming receipt. Six weeks later, I have received no response from Human Resources. To the best of my knowledge, none of the teachers at my school who applied for ADA Waivers have heard from HR. So what am I to do on Feb. 3 when DCSD demands that I report in person?

    If you are a teacher who has applied for an ADA Waiver, please share your results and advice. There are many teachers in this sinking boat.

    7
  86. No One Will Be Allowed to Telework

    Region 1 Teacher

    No one will be allowed to telework. Even if you have an ADA, you must return to the school on Feb 3. I repeat…No one will be allowed to telework at Dekalb County. This doesn’t mean you will not receive an ADA. It simply means if you have an ADA, you still have to go into the Covid Zone. Nice, huh

    10
  87. Dekalb Wastes Teachers' Time

    Why did Dekalb County waste thousand of teachers’ time having them apply for an ADA to allow them to remote teach? They have mandated that no one will remote teach…ADA or no ADA. What ineptitude…..

    12
  88. So is DCSD preferring teachers to take FMLA leave so that they aren’t teaching at all, instead of accommodations to teach remotely? It would seem that it would be preferable to have someone teaching, even if from home than to have no teacher at all.

    19
  89. The trigger has been pulled. Back to school next week-what a joke! I sent in my first ADA request in early fall and it was misplaced. I finally heard last week that they received it and it is being processed. I also have a bridge to sell in London to CWH. Does anyone know of attorneys who would deal with this? Thank you in advance.

    9
  90. @death row, are you a PAGE or other teacher group member? They should be able to advise you about what to do. I’m about to contact my PAGE representative. DeKalb is not safe to open. Document, document, document. That’s what you can do now for sure. The superintendent has told several lies so I doubt her stories will hold up in court. I’m surprised Cobb hasn’t been shut down by Kemp for the deaths and illnesses. Looks like that’s probably going to be a legal issue. You see people sick and dying but you remain open? Hello?? Wrongful death lawsuit?

    8
  91. Concerned Citizen

    Science!: “We examined 11 school districts with nearly 100,000 students/staff open for 9 weeks of inperson instruction, tracking secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2; within-school infections
    were extremely rare. Each case was independently adjudicated for community or within-school
    acquisition by local health departments.” from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2021/01/06/peds.2020-048090.full.pdf

    “With masking requirements and student cohorting, transmission risk within schools appeared low, suggesting that schools might be able to safely open with appropriate mitigation efforts in place.” from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7004e3.htm

    1
  92. Then why are people dying. Explain that.

    4
  93. Follow the Science

    Lawsuit,
    Please prove on beyond a reasonable doubt that these teachers that are dying caught Covid at school. You can’t so don’t bother.

    Biden is following the science

    The CDC is providing the evidence…

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/coronavirus-updates-cdc-researchers-say-schools-can-reopen-safely-uk-variant-has-now-spread-to-25-states/ar-BB1d8iLi?bep_ref=1&bep_csid=23519&ocid=uxbndlbing

    4
  94. A bunch of us have decided to leave this school year if f2f happens. No job is worth dying for. Good luck parents. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

    9
  95. @Concerned Citizen: there will be no student cohorts in the High Schools because they change periods and have different teachers and students with them multiple times a day.

    3

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