‘I can’t teach if I’m dead’: Teachers protest DeKalb’s plan to return to classrooms next month

‘I can’t teach if I’m dead’: Teachers protest DeKalb’s plan to return to classrooms next month

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A group of DeKalb County teachers spent hours Tuesday holding signs and protesting the district’s planned return to classes in January.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at DeKalb County Schools headquarters in Stone Mountain where the teachers want their demands to be heard.

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The district plans to return to classrooms on Jan. 4.

In phase 1, staff can return to the buildings and teach virtually from classrooms.

In phase 2, beginning on Jan. 19, students in certain grade levels who select in-person learning can return.

Teachers said they found out about the plan at the same time parents did.

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Tuesday, more than 100 teachers lined the street with signs saying things like “Keep Educators Safe” and “I can’t teach if I’m dead.”

The first demand is to actually meet with Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Watson-Harris. Teachers tell Washington they haven’t been able to sit down and discuss the matter with her.

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“Have the buildings been cleaned? What’s the ventilation of the buildings?” asked Deborah Jones, President of the Organization of DeKalb Educators.

The teachers arrived at headquarters around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and remained there for most of the day.

Washington reached out to DeKalb County Schools and received a statement that said in part:

“DCSD principals and administrators have been given instructions on procedures for alternative work assignment options. An alternative work assignment is an adjustment to an employee’s work schedule or work location based on a district, division, department or school specific need.”

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