The DeKalb County School District is asking the community to provide opinions on how best to reopen public schools after the spring closures due to COVID-19.
Parents, teachers, staff and students from middle and high schools can fill out the survey until Sunday, June 21. The survey, which takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete, is available here.
DCSD hopes to gauge the community’s level of comfort with masks, social distancing, hygiene efforts, serving meals, taking temperatures and bus transportation at schools as well as at-home internet and technology access. That information will be considered when making the detailed reopening plan.
The survey opened after the district presented the framework for reopening schools at the June 8 DeKalb County Board of Education work session.
The framework draws heavily on the Georgia Department of Education and Department of Public Health guidelines for K-12 schools, which outlines the best practices for districts depending on the level of risk for COVID-19 community spread.
Superintendent Ramona Tyson said the presentation is just a roadmap in order to allow Cheryl Watson-Harris, the superintendent finalist who may start July 1, to create a detailed plan for reopening.
It is too early to determine the classification of risk for DeKalb County schools at the start of the school year, according to the reopening framework presentation. The school district is also preparing to have transition plans if it has to move between risk levels because of the spread of the virus.
If the risk of community spread becomes substantial, as it was in March and April, schools are recommended to close and return to remote learning. For minimal or moderate risk levels, the departments suggest the school district decides whether to do traditional, hybrid or remote learning. For low risk, traditional classroom instruction is recommended.
Hybrid learning is a combination of online and in the classroom instruction, where students may be on limited or staggered classroom schedules or in reduced-capacity classrooms.
State and local officials will determine the risk level based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents.
In all scenarios, the state departments suggest having an increase in sanitation resources and services in the school buildings and busses as well as more signage about safe practices to curb the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing protocols for the students differ in each scenario but could mean moving classroom desks or promoting one-way hallway traffic.
DCSD is working on initiatives to refine its remote learning plans in case of rolling closures, develop hybrid online/classroom options, purchase personal protective equipment for staff and provide devices and hotspots for elementary school students and replacements for other students, according to the reopening presentation.
The framework was created by the DCSD COVID-19 Reopening Task Force, which includes representatives from all different departments who work together in subcommittees to create reopening plans.