The DeKalb County School District is set to begin a phased return to optional in-person classes March 9. Shortly before the move was announced, members of the Dunwoody City Council expressed concerns over how students have been affected by learning loss during the pandemic. 

Anna Hill, a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education representing District 1, attended the Feb. 22 City Council meeting to hear council members’ concerns.

Councilmembers Stacey Harris and Joe Seconder were specifically concerned in regards to students who have special needs and may need individualized education plans. 

Dunwoody City Councilmember Stacey Harris.

“I don’t believe that DeKalb County is serving kids with individual education plans,” Harris said. “There’s no way they possibly can when doing it virtually. That is a huge concern in our community and all across the county.”

Hill  said she sympathized with those concerns and that some accommodations for those individualized plans would not be possible in a remote environment. 

“I worry a lot about these students. I worry about all of the students,” she said. “But if you have a working IEP … and you can’t actually follow what it says, it leaves a situation of difficulty.” 

Council members also asked for more transparency with how federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds are being used by the school district during the pandemic. 

Dunwoody City Councilmember Joe Seconder.

“How is the school district spending all those CARES Act funds?” asked Seconder. “Do they have an open checkbook?” 

Mayor Lynn Deutsch echoed the need for more transparency in how CARES Act funds are being spent.

“I’m really concerned that we’re a year into this, and there are reports that some buildings aren’t ready,” Deutsch said. “If I were the superintendent, I would like an audit of how people’s time was spent.”

More information on the reopening plan for schools can be found at dekalbschoolsga.org/school-reopening.  Residents can watch “The State of the District” address at dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv