‘Virtual meetings’ now an actual reality for Decatur

Decatur will hold its first “virtual meeting” Tuesday (March 24), a practice certain to become standard for the school board and city commission in the next few weeks if not months.

Tuesday is a school board work session, 3-5 p.m., and for those wishing to listen they sign in at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrduyurTwvIdxC7aoC7Zsw-66xQvUI8g. The two agenda items are “status and plans regarding coronavirus,” and a discussion on the recently created senior homestead exemption committee.

Because it’s a work session public comment is not allowed, although that won’t be the case during regularly scheduled meetings.

City Schools of Decatur’s announcement came Monday, shortly after DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond declared a state of emergency in DeKalb County that prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people. Thurmond’s order remains in place “until otherwise amended or revoked.”

Decatur’s next city commission meeting is April 6. City Manager Andrea Arnold said that links to that and subsequent commission meeting will include a cue for listeners/viewers to comment publically. But she anticipates mostly skeletal agendas in foreseeable future.

“This [focusing on the coronavirus pandemic] is all I’m working on, every hour every day, seven days a week,” she said. “Sanitation services are operating and facilities’ maintenance is still happening. But agenda items are on hold—streets, sidewalks and infrastructure projects are on hold.”

Save for those selected public works employees, most city staffers are working from home. Last week a Decatur city employee tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Arnold said only “five or six” employees worked out of City Hall on Monday.

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