DEKALB COUNTY, Georgia (WGCL ) — DeKalb County teachers took a stand Tuesday, protesting the district’s decision to reopen for face-to-face learning.
“They’re still having board meetings vertically so how can they bring us back to school when they’re still home,” said Miriam Martin.
The school district’s phased in reopen plan is set to begin on January 4 with staff returning to schools. Students in Pre-K, 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 9th grade can begin in-person learning on January 19 but educators say the move puts their lives at risk.
“We’ve already had two local teachers die in addition to all the teachers that have died from across the country and around the world and we really need to stand for each other because none of us need to be in a building right now,” Christian Zsilavetz.
According to the reopening plan on the district’s website, the decision was based on updated COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That information includes preventing the spread of the virus by using social distancing, sanitizing, wearing masks and washing hands but teacher said that’s not enough.
“ I know that it’s going to be virtually impossible for us to have 6 foot distance between our students and ourselves as well as having elementary school children let alone high school students wearing mask all day”, said educator Angela Cistrunk.
Parent Lisa Baker agrees saying, “You know what’s more important than my kids learning the geography of Europe this year. My kids surviving this year and their teachers surviving this year.”
To reiterate that message teachers walked with coffins and signs they hope would drive home their point.
“I’m gonna go back because I can’t afford to stay home. But I am overweight, I’m 65, I have asthma, I have other things. Normally I can handle it but with Covid you’re going to see me in the hospital or probably dead,” added educator Gwenn Kennedy.
The teachers who spoke to CBS46 say if a change is not made by January 4 many of them will have no choice but to forgo their jobs.
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