DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — After many protests, DeKalb County teachers are still set to return to the classroom on Wednesday, but one teacher said she will be teaching virtually from a hospital room.
"I am not because I'm still at the hospital with my daughter. I am expected to be back there but I am not," Jasmine Casilla, an 8th-grade teacher at the DeKalb International Student Center, said.
Casilla's 6-year-old daughter, Isabella, has been in the hospital since November with complications from lupus. As a result, Casilla has been teaching virtually from the hospital room.
"I advocate for other children," Casilla said. "How do I not advocate for my own -- so, I'm here with her."
Casilla said she is not eligible for exceptions provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and she can't risk bringing COVID-19 home to her family.
On the other hand, she said she still wants to teach. She said she wishes there was another option.
"It's not even acknowledged that you can continue to work virtually, and you can't tell me continuing to work virtually isn't a good option, 'cause you told me to do that for over half a year," Casilla explained.
Casilla said she will log on Wednesday from Isabella's hospital room once again, to be the best teacher and mom she can be.
The Organization of DeKalb Educators is encouraging 3,000 members not to return to the classroom if they don’t think it's safe.
Feb. 3 would be the first time DeKalb County educators have been in the classroom since the beginning of the pandemic last March. Students are set to return to classrooms later this month.
We reached out to the district about the teachers' group's concerns and are still waiting on their reply.
DeKalb County teachers came together to continue protests for a safe return to a COVID-free classroom on Saturday afternoon.