BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – More school systems will transition to virtual learning temporarily due to issues with the spike in COVID cases and staffing shortages.
Attalla City School students will learn from home Friday and Tuesday. Gadsden City and Etowah County Schools will participate in E-Learning Friday.
“We had an excessive number of staff absences,” says Etowah County Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Cosby. “We were beginning to see classrooms that we could not cover with substitutes. So based on that, along with high student absentee rates. We went ahead and decided it would be good to do that tomorrow.”
Dr. Cosby says they aren’t just experiencing staffing issues in the classroom, but the district is looking for help in several areas like substitute teachers and lunchroom workers.
“We’re thin in all areas,” says Dr. Cosby. “With sickness going around. In one particular lunchroom today where we had only the lunchroom manager that was there, so we had to fill in around that in order to be able to serve lunch. We’ve also had many bus drivers out. And so yes it’s effected our staffing throughout our teachers and everyone in our school system.”
Dr. Wes Stubblefield, a district medical officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says the Omicron strain has impacted schools, but the best thing for schools to do is follow the ADPH and CDC guidance like requiring masks and maintaining at least three feet distance in the classroom.
“What we’ve found over the pandemic is that before Omicron,” says Dr. Stubblefield. “We’ve done pretty well in the school systems in terms of preventing mass outbreaks in schools. We think that if schools can continue to follow these policies and we’ve gotten new guidance but those are very dependent on masking. We very much ask schools continue to follow the guidance from us and the CDC.”
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