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City Schools of Decatur moving ahead with reopening plan, students to return Jan. 19

COVID-19 Metro ATL

City Schools of Decatur moving ahead with reopening plan, students to return Jan. 19

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FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education. Top row, left to right: former Superintendent David Dude and School Board Chair Lewis Jones. Bottom row, left to right: School board members James Herndon, Tasha White (Vice Chair), Heather Tell and Jana Johnson-Davis. Image obtained via City Schools of Decatur
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Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur on Jan. 4 confirmed the district intends to bring some students back for in-person learning on Jan. 19.

“Although community spread of COVID-19 has increased, we remain confident that our mitigation efforts will provide a safe learning environment for staff and students,” the School District announced. “Schools are less likely to be a place where COVID-19 is transmitted, and we can implement mitigation measures effectively. We plan to move forward with inviting K-5 students back for in-person instruction starting on January 19. We continue to monitor the situation and will be flexible as needed.”

Starting Jan. 5 through Jan. 15, students will continue virtual learning with their current teacher and schedule.

“Due to the four-day week, there is no Wellness Wednesday on January 6 for grades K-12. Pre-K students will be provided asynchronous activities on January 6, and K-12 students will log on for their normal classes on January 6,” the School District announced. “The final Wellness Wednesday will be January 13.”

Here’s what things will look like for students starting on Jan. 19:

Pre-K

Students attending Pre-K will attend school on a hybrid schedule, attending in-person class two days a week, and have asynchronous learning activities provided on Wednesdays. College Heights will communicate additional information and details.

Grades K-5

Starting January 19, we plan to begin offering in-person learning for students in grades K-5 five days a week whose parents selected the return to in-person learning option on the learning choice survey. If you selected the return to in-person flexible option, more details are provided below. We believe attending school five days a week is the best way to ensure student cohorts are maintained, so parents do not have to find alternative daycare options on virtual learning days. To accomplish this, we are hiring 17 additional staff at the K-5 level. This will allow us to ensure that in-person classes are kept at 15 students or fewer and accommodate teachers who need to work remotely.

Schools will use a rubric to help determine which students who selected the “Return to in-person flexible” option should be invited back to in-person learning where we have open seats. This rubric will prioritize students who are at the greatest risk of falling behind. Schools will communicate directly with families that selected the flexible option by January 11.

In-person learning for all K-5 schools will occur in the morning. Schools will send specific information to families regarding logistics for drop-off/pick-up, teacher assignment, and other school-specific information.

Grades 6-12

Students in grades 6-12 will continue in the full virtual learning setting. The middle school and high school COVID-19 Response Teams and administrators have worked diligently on developing plans for in-person learning so we can include 6-12 students as soon as possible. Once district administrators approve their plans, we will announce a date for a return to in-person learning for students in grades 6-12.

It’s possible that some students will have different teachers, according to the announcement.

“School leaders have reviewed responses to the learning choice survey and are doing their utmost to minimize any teacher changes. Details will be shared with families next week regarding teacher assignments,” the announcement says.

To read the full announcement, click here.

Decatur resident and parent April Biagioni on Jan. 4 placed a visual memorial to the 564 dedicated school employees who have died nationwide due to COVID-19. She placed on Ebster Field, but said it was removed because it was on school property.

When asked about her motivation for erecting the memorial, she said, “These are people’s loved ones. This is a life. They need to be remembered. I think putting a number on a person is demoralizing and dehumanizing. A lot of people weren’t able to have funeral services for their loved ones who died of COVID. I wanted to have a way to reinforce that we are playing with people’s lives and health.”

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