DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Teachers in DeKalb County Public Schools are preparing to return to their classrooms this week, but not all of them are happy about it. A group of teachers gathered Monday afternoon to protest the decision, because of COVID-19 safety concerns.
They lined the road near the school administration building, protesting against the requirement to return to the classroom on Wednesday and well before students can resume in-person classes.READ MORE: Colonial Pipeline returns to 'normal operations' after restart
”My biggest concern is for those fellow teachers who are being made to return who have underlying conditions or who have small children at home with no daycare,” said Andre Rogers, a high school math teacher.
“They have not given us anything in the schools that lets us know it’s safe,” said Deborah Jones, the president of the Organization of DeKalb Teachers.
Many protesters referenced the recent COVID-related deaths of several Cobb County teachers. Teacher advocates are calling for virtual instruction. “How are you trying to get these teachers back into a classroom to potentially get infected by students coming in who might have parents that don’t necessary believe in the pandemic either,” said Antonio Hicks, an advocate who participated in the protest.READ MORE: Disney World changes mask requirements for guests
School administrators were not available to interview, but referred CW69 to a January press release on plans to delay re-opening for students. The release indicated, “Decisions were carefully made given the magnitude of covid-19 and school closures on teaching and learning.”
The release also listed plans to provide personal protective equipment. “When you PPE that’s a rag, a spray bottle and some wipes, that’s not enough to keep you safe. We need ventilation,” Jones said.
Students with parents who teach and have underlying conditions are also concerned. ”The fact that they’re so willing to put a teacher’s life at risk is insane to me,” said Olivia Derosa, a 12th grader.
The Organization of DeKalb Teachers has asked the teachers to not go in. “Some teachers have already decided they’re not going to go, they will quit first,” said Jones.MORE NEWS: Petition Calls For Atlanta Public Schools To Reverse Early Bell Change Schedule
There’s no word on how the system plans to respond to those who don’t show up.