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DeKalb Superintendent: teachers can stay home on Jan. 4 while waiting on ADA determination

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DeKalb Superintendent: teachers can stay home on Jan. 4 while waiting on ADA determination

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Cheryl Watson-Harris
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DeKalb County, GA — In a video message published over the weekend, DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris announced that teachers who wish to stay home while waiting for a determination on their Americans with Disabilities Act and hardship requests may do so.

Schools have been virtual since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers were supposed to return to the building on Jan. 4, a decision announced before the holiday break that lead to protests in front of the DeKalb County School District central offices. Several teachers expressed concern that their ADA requests were simply being ignored. Students are supposed to return on Jan. 19.

Watson-Harris said that teachers can stay home Monday until their requests are resolved.

“We recognize there are staff members with underlining health concerns, some who are caring for a family member or staff members who have childcare challenges,” she said. “Our goal again is to be flexible, patient and compassionate.”

She said the week of Jan. 4 will be an “asynchronous week” for students, meaning there will be no virtual interaction with teachers via video conferencing. Students instead will be asked to complete at home the assignments provided by their teachers.

“This will allow our human resources team the opportunity to finalize all ADA accommodation requests and approve needed temporary hardship requests,” she said.

She said asynchronous learning time will allow principals and teachers the time to complete class lists for students that will be returning for face-to-face learning as well as providing professional development and support for staff members who choose to return to the classroom.

The superintendent said she would provide “full update” on the district’s return to school plans at the Jan. 11 School Board meeting.

Here is her full announcement:

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