The DeKalb County School District is gearing up for students to make a return to classrooms, according to an announcement made Tuesday.
“Face-to-face learning is ideal but we’re not in an ideal situation," said a South Dekalb mother watching the announcement at the districts 'State of the District' event.
During Phases Two and Three of the district's plan, students will participate in a hybrid, in-person learning model per school officials.
Students in pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, sixth grade, and ninth grade students will return to in-person learning on March 9, Students in third, fourth, fifth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades will being in-person learning days later on March 15.
"I am excited about the return to face-to-face instruction,” said Superintendent Watson-Harris. "This has been a tough, but necessary decision. We will continue to make the safety of our scholars and staff our number one priority and soar together."
Some Dekalb parents welcome the news.
“I’m very happy to hear that they’re going back this is the right call,” said Jessica Lawrence, a Dekalb County parent.
Teachers who spoke to CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy said they are upset with decision and reported still not having enough PPE equipment, and don't believe the schools are receiving adequate cleaning.
All classes will be organized into groups based on last name and instructional program to follow social and physical distancing requirements, allow for contact tracing and testing, and to minimize transmissions across groups.
DeKalb Board of Education Chair Vickie Turner released a statement regarding the district's plan:
“Superintendent Watson-Harris will effectively outline the impact of COVID-19 as well as the goals of the district. I am grateful for the very diligent and thoughtful work that has been demonstrated by this staff along with the leadership team. It goes without question, virtual learning has presented some serious challenges to our students, our families and our staff. The Superintendent is to be commended for facing those challenges head on and coming up with viable solutions that will ultimately benefit our students. As we move forward with the hybrid plan and re-opening of schools, we will follow every evidence-based recommendation to keep our teachers and students safe.”
"Superintendent Watson-Harris has worked tirelessly to lead the school district through the pandemic and continues to improve the District," said DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. "DeKalb Government supports her efforts to eliminate barriers to success so that our students will continue to excel."
Additional information regarding the district's return to in-person learning can be found here.