DeKalb school district to reopen classrooms to in-person learning

DeKalb County School District superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris speaks at her installment ceremony on July 1, 2020. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)
DeKalb County School District superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris speaks at her installment ceremony on July 1, 2020. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

DeKalb County Schools plans to reopen its buildings for face-to-face learning for the first time since last March, when schools switched to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans were announced Tuesday in a news release ahead of the “state of the district” address by Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris.

“We have been one of the most conservative school systems in our response to this pandemic,” Watson-Harris said at the drive-in event, which was held outdoors in a church parking lot.

She added: “We are ready to welcome our scholars back into the building and we ask the community to continue to pray for us.”

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Students in prekindergarten through second grade, as well as sixth and ninth grades, can return to schools on March 9. Students in third through fifth grades, seventh through eighth, and 10th through 12th grades can return March 15.

Families can choose to keep their children in online-only learning.

DeKalb County School District Cheryl Watson-Harris delivers her state of the district address on Feb. 23, 2020. (Screen shot)
DeKalb County School District Cheryl Watson-Harris delivers her state of the district address on Feb. 23, 2020. (Screen shot)

Fernbank Elementary School parent Jessica Lawrence said, who was Tuesday’s event, said she’s glad schools are reopening. A sign on her vehicle read: “I miss my playground and my school.”

”I’m here to support the teachers in reopening safely,” Lawrence said. “They’re ready.”

A parent from South DeKalb, who declined to be named, was parked nearby with a sign on her vehicle that said: “Keep schools closed.”

School staff returned to buildings earlier this month, but classes remained virtual.

ExploreCOVID-19 cases reported at metro Atlanta public schools

While some parents urged a return to for in-person learning, others asked the district to delay until staff are vaccinated and more is done to ensure the safety of students and staff.

The district, which has more than 93,000 students, has reported 862 cases of the coronavirus among students and employees July 1 to Feb. 18.

A stage is prepared in a church parking lot for DeKalb County Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris to deliver her "state of the district" address on Feb. 23, 2020. (WILBORN P. NOBLES III / AJC)
A stage is prepared in a church parking lot for DeKalb County Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris to deliver her "state of the district" address on Feb. 23, 2020. (WILBORN P. NOBLES III / AJC)

Credit: Wilborn Nobles

Credit: Wilborn Nobles

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