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Dekalb County families await school reopening plan

One of the largest districts in the state has still not announced how they'll get kids back to class during the COVID-19 pandemic

ATLANTA — Thousands of families in Dekalb County have been waiting for their school reopening plan.

The new superintendent plans to announce how they'll return to class during the school board meeting on Monday.

However, some parents and teachers have already weighed in online about how they feel about returning to class.

Most students who took the survey indicated that they want to go back to campus full-time when school opens back up in a few weeks. But, in a survey posted by a school board member, the answers from parents and teachers were much different.

More than half of Dekalb County parents surveyed about back-to-school plans reported feeling uncomfortable with sending their kids back to class. Even more teachers who would be in school with the kids say they don't feel safe with that option.

Seventy percent of employees said they were uncomfortable with a traditional model, meaning kids and teachers in the classroom fulltime.

Atlanta Public Schools has announced their intention to go completely virtual for the first nine weeks - a plan half of parents and nearly 70 percent of teachers agreed with.

Gwinnett County is offering families the option to return but recently announced they'll enforce a mask mandate for students and teachers.

Leading Emory doctor, Carlos del Rio, said districts need to figure out what plans make the most sense for their community soon.

"If we want to open schools, and our window is closing, we have to slow community transmission, we have to tamp out the virus in the community," said del Rio. 

It's a difficult goal given the latest COVID-19 numbers, with 2,500 new cases reported in Georgia on Saturday. The state has passed more than 3,000 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Those are the numbers the new superintendent has been looking at after coming aboard at the beginning of July.

The district said figuring out their COVID response plan has been her top priority.

The district has been tight-lipped about what their plans will look like. The new superintendent plans to announce them at the school board meeting on Monday at 1 p.m.

11Alive has learned that the school calendar will look different. In a document posted online, the district reported they will start two weeks later than normal and end the school year in June.

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