City Schools of Decatur Superintendent David Dude. Courtesy City Schools of Decatur

Decatur Schools moving to online instruction March 27

City Schools of Decatur will shift into fulltime online instruction beginning Friday (March 27) with students receiving new content from their teachers.

During a two-hour March 24 work session conducted online, the school board and several staffers updated the district’s immediate plans for maintaining a semblance of normality during the coronavirus outbreak.

CSD closed its schools on March 13 and after several days planning teachers began providing materials and content mostly serving as a review for students. But formal online instruction begins Friday and, at least for now, lasts through May 1.

The school week runs Monday through Thursday, with Friday reserved as a “flex day” where students complete their week’s work and, if needed, can connect with their teachers. During Tuesday’s meeting Superintendent David Dude said teachers are expected to post the week’s material by 8 a.m. every Monday to all students on their current roster.

He added that teachers are “expected to be reasonably accessible to students or parents through typical school hours.” For trouble shooting or any assistance with the online programs, you can go to: www.csdecatur.net/technologyathome.

“Kids won’t get the same experience that they get in the classroom,” Dude said. “This isn’t a substitute for the classroom. But we are doing our best under the situation.”

The revised schedule doesn’t impact the April 6-10 spring break.

Other topics covered during the work session:

*Dude said the Georgia Department of Education is developing detailed graduation and course credit guidance that’ll get covered during the March 26 GDOE board meeting. “We should have more information next week,” Dude said, “about what [Decatur’s] graduation requirements are as well as on the graduation ceremony itself.”

*CSD continues pursuing candidates for job openings by using “digital tools to do online interviews.” Currently the district has five major staff openings: Executive Director of Staff Support overseeing Human Resources, Director of Finance and Principals at Westchester and Glennwood Elementary. Additionally Noel Maloof, the Executive Director of Operations, is leaving at the end of this month.

*Dude said the pandemic could affect future revenues, though it might not get felt for a year or two. He believes that initially the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will take the biggest hit. Based on 1 percent countywide sales tax, SPLOST is shared proportionately between CSD and DeKalb County schools. Dude said preliminary figures indicate SPLOST funds will be roughly 50 percent lower over the next six months, and 25 percent lower in the six months after that.

Projects funded by SPLOST include the city’s new fiber optic network that’ll cover 14 city and 10 school sites. The roughly $2 million project began last August and was expected to last 12 to 14 months.

Other projects funded by SPLOST: bus purchases, lighting upgrades, facilities repairs and renovation, new construction, HVAC systems repairs, roof replacements and repairs.

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