COVID-19, staff shortages are pushing school districts to change their learning plans

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Since Monday, a handful of schools have made changes to ensure children and the community can safely resume in-person learning.

TOLEDO, Ohio – COVID-19 continues to impact schools in Northwestern Ohio.

Since Monday, a handful of schools have made changes to ensure children and the community can safely resume in-person learning.

The Toledo School of the Arts is one of the most recent to join the list of districts extending winter vacations due to understaffing and COVID-19. They highlight issues such as being able to have enough people to cover bus routes and classrooms.

“We didn’t think we could staff the building enough to the point where we could have in-person classes. That, combined with the number of student absences that were also reported, contributed to the decision to extend our winter break, ”TSA director Doug Mead said.

Meanwhile, local Washington schools superintendent Kadee Anstadt believes this problem is just the tip of the iceberg.

“People aren’t even really calling school yet because they haven’t missed school yet, so I feel like it’s a lot worse. of testing probably means there are more positive cases than we even know about, ”Anstadt said.

The number of outgoing staff varies from district to district. The reason too.

At TSA, COVID-19 is the number one reason staff cannot work.

“The number of faculty and staff that we would have absent may not be significant for other school districts, but when you look at it from an overall percentage of staff it can be very high,” Mead said.

School leaders say they fully intend to return to class without any changes.

But an increase in COVID-19 cases and a lack of people available to cover have put districts in a position to extend winter vacations, go virtual, or a combination of both.

Over the past 48 hours, school districts like Washington Local have seen huge jumps in positive COVID-19 cases, both for students and staff.

Anstadt says she expected to see an increase when they return from hiatus – but what they’re seeing right now is alarming.

“That’s double the number of positive cases, more than double at this point, on staff than we’ve ever had. If you think about the pre-vaccination and all those times during the pandemic that we’ve seen peaks. This is more than double the number of cases, “she said.

As of January 5, the Washington local had more than 40 employees infected with the virus, but about 120 employees are absent in total.

With so many people unable to work, Anstadt says it’s debilitating.

“It breaks our hearts to have to do this, but I’d rather get better and spend January, February, March, April and May in school than to be home and away for a month or two because we’re got too sick, ”Anstadt said.

Testing has also been a problem for residents of the county. Anstadt says his district has COVID-19 test kits for staff and families, if they need them.
She says families can contact their school nurse to get them.

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