Most Dekalb Parents Want a Safe Plan for School Reopening

By: Coalition for a Safe DCSD Return
 
DECATUR, Ga. - Oct. 19, 2020 - PRLog -- On October 10, Trin Intra, a parent at Briar Vista Elementary School and Wadsworth Magnet School, published a petition on Change.org. Addressed to Dekalb County School District Superintendent Watson-Harris, Intra's petition asks the district to delay its plan for reopening face to face learning in schools until COVID-19 cases show a clear downward trend. The petition quickly gained traction on social media, and in five days it had garnered over 3,000 Dekalb parent signatures.

An opposing petition launched last month, asking for Dekalb schools to reopen, had only 1,300 signatures after three weeks online.

Intra launched her petition to make sure that all parent voices are heard. "We and our children are concerned about our teachers' safety," she says. "This pandemic is still in the early stages, and now is not the right time."

Parents who signed Intra's petition quickly launched a Facebook group, Coalition for a Safe DCSD Return. Last week the group released a statement, asking that the county's reopening plan prioritize complete transparency, right timing, full equity, and community care.

"Parents, teachers, and staff should be able to provide input on the safety plan," says Lisa Baker, a member of the coalition whose children attend Briar Vista Elementary School and Dekalb Elementary School of the Arts. "We don't have a steady decline in cases yet, and we're heading into flu season. The current plan does not prioritize the most vulnerable families who are struggling the most with virtual learning, and right now we're not ready to ensure safety for teachers, staff, and students."

Dekalb County School District's current plan for reopening will move to a hybrid model when the 14-day rolling average of cases in the county drops below 100 per 100,000. On October 4, that number dipped to 95, and the county announced that teachers should report in person on October 19. But the number returned to 101 on Oct 9, and last week the county sent a second announcement, telling teachers not to report this week and that reopening would be delayed.

Over the weekend, the Coalition for a Safe DSDC Return launched a social media campaign, asking Dekalb parents to share videos online explaining why they support waiting to reopen schools with the hashtag #WhyIAmForWaiting. Videos can be viewed on the group's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SafeReturn4All.

The Dekalb Board of Education will meet later today and has said it will make an announcement regarding the reopening plan at that time.

Intra's petition is still gathering more Dekalb parent signatures on Change.org: https://www.change.org/p/superintendent-ms-watson-harris-....

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Location:Decatur - Georgia - United States
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