DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Hundreds of parents, teachers, and students protested lined up along the road near the entrance to DeKalb County School District’s main office on Tuesday – for the second week in a row.
They say they’re outraged the district wants to resume in-person learning as COVID-19 numbers again are on the rise.
"It's just not the right thing to do at this time," said Deborah Jones, who leads the Organization of DeKalb Educators. "We know what happened right after Thanksgiving, so we know what's going to happen after Christmas. Give it some time, what is the rush?"
The protesters pounded drums, waved signs at passing cars, and a few even held a mock funeral procession with a cardboard box meant to symbolize a coffin.
"It makes absolutely no sense us going back with the cases being so high and it just tells us we are devalued," said Victoria Rhodes, a business education teacher in the district. "All the teaching in the world doesn't matter if your teachers are dying."
Earlier in the month, the school district announced the metrics had changed based upon guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as input from parents and health experts. Teachers and staff will return from Jan. 4 through Jan. 8. On Jan. 19, students in Pre-K through second grades, sixth grade, and ninth grade can return or continue virtual learning from home. Students in the remaining grade levels can return on Jan. 25 on a hybrid model.
Jones said that the district has not been forthcoming with teachers about what the return to the classroom would look like.
"I've tried to get in touch with the superintendent and the board, we've written letters, we sent texts, everything we could've done," she said. "They have not answered us at all."
The district did not have comment on Tuesday’s protests, but told FOX 5 last week, the superintendent said administrators are committed to working with teachers to provide alternative work assignment options including adjusted schedules and adjusted work locations.
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