SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System goes into their next phase there’s a new concern to bring back teachers.
The district says only 38 percent of teachers have returned to the classroom since phase 2 started. That’s more than 900 teachers who are currently teaching in-person.
Now that phase 3 is approved, the Savannah-Chatham school board is working to get the other 1,400 teachers back.
Board member Dr. David Bringman brought the conversation to light to ask the board when they would need to ask all teachers to teach in-person.
“I think having that discussion sooner than later is going to be most beneficial so we can decide where each one of us can stand and say it’s no longer a choice,” Bringman said.
Bringman said he would use Chatham County’s Community Transmission Index (CTI) to determine this. He says he would draw the line at a CTI of 51-100. All school board members agree teachers should return when it’s safe.
“Honestly unless they’re deemed essential workers it needs to be their choice,” District 7 board member Michael Johnson said.
“The key log is are you going to require that staff returns to the building. I will also invite you to look at the previous presentations I’ve made. I’ve not been confused at all. I had two or three dates when I expected everybody to be back in,” SCCPSS Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett said.
While the superintendent had plans for teachers to come back, the school board decided to give teachers an option.
“The challenge for which I think there really does need an answer is how do you make staff want to come when the risk is high?” District 2 board member Dr. Dionne Hoskins-Brown said.
Board member Shawn Kachmar said an incentive could help. A motion was brought to the floor to create a plan. Board members said they could use money or time-off among other things.
“We have $30 million in our rainy day fund. It’s there for a reason,” Kachmar said.
The board voted unanimously allowing the superintendent to come up with a plan to create a possible incentive.
“We can create a plan but you know it’s going to be a large amount of money,” Levett said.
News 3 is still waiting to learn when that plan will be presented to the school board.