DeKalb County School District will unveil its plan to reopen schools at the Monday, July 13 Board of Education meeting.

The board will review and discuss the plan before voting on it. The meeting starts at 1 p.m. with an executive session. People can tune in to the virtual meeting here.

The plan was created by the COVID-19 Reopening Task Force, which has representatives from different district and school departments, and new Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris, who took office July 1.

Board chair Marshall Orson said DCSD’s delay in explaining the reopening plans is because of the recent change in leadership.

In a July 5 Facebook post, Orson predicted DeKalb may push its start date back to Aug. 17, following the lead of Fulton and Cobb counties.

Orson also said he expects hybrid in-person and online instruction, though he’s unsure what that could look like. Reopening will most likely be gradual, he said, and he’s concerned about accommodating any students, staff and teachers who are particularly vulnerable during this time because of health or financial hardships.

“We will all need to be flexible and to understand that we will be in a dynamic and fluid situation,” Orson said in the post.

The plan includes guidelines from the Georgia Department of Education, latest Georgia Department of Public Health data and community feedback, according to a Facebook post by Watson-Harris.

“Throughout the process, the safety of students has been the No. 1 priority,” Watson-Harris said in the post.

DCSD requested parents, teachers, staff and students complete a survey by June 21 after it released a reopening framework at a June 8 work session.

The framework drew heavily on the Georgia Department of Education and Department of Public Health guidelines for K-12 schools, which outlines the best practices for districts depending on the level of risk for COVID-19 community spread.

Former Superintendent Ramona Tyson said in the work session that the framework left enough flexibility for Watson-Harris to flesh out the details after she was sworn in July 1.

COVID-19 cases in DeKalb County and across the state have been on the rise, which could be because of loosening state restrictions or an increase in testing.

DeKalb County had the third-most reported cases in the state at just over 7,400 cases, according to a Georgia DPH COVID-19 tracker as of July 10. Georgia has just over 106,000 reported cases, according to the July 10 data.

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