Some Idaho Schools Forced To Close, Will Others Follow?
First staff shortages in service industries took a big hit. Stores, restaurants and more were recently forced to adjust hours and close due to lack of workers. Next and most recently the airlines took a major hit and if you traveled recently you most likely felt the strain. Hundreds if not thousands of flight attendants, airline staff and more where out sick, mostly due to the pandemic. Due to the massive shortages tons of flights were canceled causing travel issues all over the country.
Now it is hitting our school system. Here in Idaho The McCall-Donnelly School District has been closed for its second consecutive day and may have to stay closed due to transportation and staffing shortages. According to CBS Chanel 2 Boise, "A spokesperson says 15 to 20 percent of its staff called out of work, and two bus routes couldn't be covered due to a lack of drivers."
The new COVID variant Omicron is overwhelm other Idaho school districts too. This week alone the Nampa School District had about 100 leave requests from staff. According to CBS, "35 classrooms that are being covered by other staff members, which may include principals, assistant vice principals, secretaries, and other teachers." The district is doing everything they can to not close schools but they are nearing a breaking point.
The district is looking for substitute teachers and if they can find enough that will make all the difference for being able to keep kids in person learning at school. "We have about 300 substitute teachers on the books but at any given time we only get about a third of them who say yes."
Emmett School district is also feeling some strain but so far not as badly as some other Idaho districts.
My 8 year old boy goes to West Ada school district, this week they have had about 25 teachers out with COVID-19. So far they have been able to keep things open and are doing the best they can with the ultimate goal being safety and to keep kids in school learning. An email from West Ada that I just received from my child's Meridian school today says, "We will continue to monitor and respond to positive cases within our system and notify parents when positive cases have been present in their child’s classroom(s). Parents/guardians, please continue to take precautions and monitor your children for COVID-19-like symptoms and keep students home when symptomatic. Schools continue to utilize multiple mitigating measures to help minimize the spread of this virus." They are also offering rapid tests at the school if needed.