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City Schools of Decatur will make announcement about virtual learning on Sept. 18

Decatur Metro ATL

City Schools of Decatur will make announcement about virtual learning on Sept. 18

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Superintendent David Dude


Decatur, GA — On Sept. 18, City Schools of Decatur will make an announcement about whether virtual learning will continue or whether the district will try to get students back into the classroom.

It looks likely that virtual learning will continue, at least in the short term due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a recent School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. David Dude outlined the sources of information being used to support a decision, including reported numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in DeKalb County, Georgia Tech’s risk assessment tool for group activities, and surveys sent out to teachers, parents, and students.

Physical preparations for in-person schooling include the installation of air ionization systems in all of the school buildings. Decatur High School’s system is the last to be installed.

“I will tell you both from looking at data on the spread of the virus, and the data from perceptions, it’s likely that we will be staying virtual longer. But one of the things that I’m encouraged by is that the rates are dropping,” said Dude. He described hybrid schooling as potentially “the worst of both worlds” and is seeking a way to transition without losing instruction time. Possibilities include learning pods and delaying most in-person activities until the school buildings can hopefully be fully opened in January.

A proposal system for in-person activities will be put into place for staff to present plans for safely re-starting some programs or events.

DeKalb County’s superintendent recently outlined plans for getting students in DeKalb County Schools back into the classroom.

The superintendent’s presentation included a tentative date of Oct. 5 for hybrid learning to begin, which met with resistance from board members who argued that there’s no assurance transmission will have slowed enough to allow in-person learning to resume.

Based on information from the Georgia Department of Public Health, the DeKalb Board of Health, and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, Watson-Harris defined three levels of COVID-19 transmission based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period: 1-5 cases per 100,000 county residents is “low/no spread,” while 6-100 cases is considered to be “minimal/moderate spread.”  More than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period is defined as “substantial spread.”

“Our plan is based on data and is conservative because the health and safety of our staff and students is our number one priority,” said Watson-Harris.

As of the Sept. 14 DeKalb County Board of Education meeting, COVID-19 transmission was 124 cases per 100,000 for the last 14 days, according to the Department of Public Health and the DeKalb Board of Health.

As of Sept. 16, it was 122 cases per 100,000, according to DPH.

As long as transmission remains at a substantial level, distance learning in DeKalb County will continue.

For more information on what DeKalb County is doing, click here.

Sara Amis contributed reporting to this story. 

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