Metro school board members send letter to Kemp regarding COVID-19 and teacher safety

coronavirus under electron microscopeCoronavirus under electron microscope (image by Felipe Esquivel Reed, licensed under CC-SA 4.0)

Members of the school boards from Atlanta, Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Griffin-Spalding, and Gwinnett County signed the following letter to Governor Brian Kemp, calling for actions to be taken to protect teacher safety in the light of recent COVID-19 deaths among teachers.

Dr. Jaha Howard, Cobb County Board of Education 4300 Paces Ferry Road #405
Atlanta, GA 30339

January 24, 2021

Governor Brian Kemp

206 Washington Street Suite 203, State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334

Dear Governor Kemp,

As fellow Georgia leaders, we acknowledge the hard truths of this pandemic and the hard work set before us. Our great state has suffered from almost 12,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Just recently, two of our educators died on the same day, adding to the list of Georgia educators and staff who’ve lost their lives to this virus. Moreover, death and hospitalization data cannot sufficiently describe the mental and emotional trauma that our educators face on a daily basis.

While most sectors of our economy have strong voices to champion their perspectives, we stand as champions for the men and women who dedicate their lives to educating our students. COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the importance of our public schools, and we urgently call for the following actions to promote safer face-to-face instruction:

1. Prioritize, and optimize access to, vaccinations for all school staff.

2. Provide medical grade face masks (minimum Level 3 and KN95) for every staff member.

3. Collect and review anonymous COVID-related feedback from public education staff.

We thank you in advance for taking these steps to promote more safety and transparency in our schools. We anticipate a written response within the next 10 days.

In solidarity,

Eshe’ Collins, Atlanta Board of Education

Jason Esteves, Atlanta Board of Education

Leslie Grant, Atlanta Board of Education

Erika Mitchell, Atlanta Board of Education

Jasmine Bowles, Clayton County Board of Education

Charisse Davis, Cobb County Board of Education

Dr. Jaha Howard, Cobb County Board of Education

Leroy Tre’ Hutchins, Cobb County Board of Education

Diijon DaCosta, Dekalb County Board of Education

Allyson Gevertz, Dekalb County Board of Education

Syntel Brown, Griffin-Spalding Board of Education

Dr. Tarece Johnson, Gwinnett County Board of Education

Karen Watkins, Gwinnett County Board of Education