Health

Mass absenteeism is a challenge for schools

ELIDA — Schools have been asked to fill in as substitute teachers and bus drivers for principals, college students, and parents to keep the building open amid the recent surge in coronavirus infections.

“We want to keep the school open five days a week for face-to-face learning,” said Joel Mengerink, director of Elida School. “It’s great for students and student learning, but we all know that it will be a big challenge in the next 1-2 weeks.”

Elida experienced the absence of approximately 100 students and staff due to COVID-19 during the first two weeks of January.

Mengerink estimates that an average of 7-10 teachers are absent per building each day due to illness or quarantine, but secretaries, cafeteria workers and bus drivers continue to be absent.

Still, Mengerinck said the district is doing everything it can to stay face-to-face and the pivot to distance learning will be temporary.

A highly contagious variant of coronavirus, the Omicron variant, may have appeared in the Lima area by late December, causing a massive surge in new infections shortly after students returned to school from winter vacation. , Exacerbated these challenges.

“The surge happened much earlier than we expected,” said Jill Ackerman, director of the Lima School, which had 48 students and staff for COVID-19 as of Friday. I did.

“We expected to come back, so we’ll see a peak in a few weeks, but the surge started shortly after Christmas,” Ackerman said.

Data from the Ohio Department of Health show record 1,900 coronavirus infections in Allen County alone in the first two weeks of January, at least 960 positive cases in Auglaize County, and more in Putnam County. An additional 600 infections were seen in 14 days.

Due to the pandemic staff shortage, schools need to be creative in keeping students in the classroom. Teachers make up for each other during the preparation period.

Slow bus notifications are becoming more common as schools try to find alternative bus drivers.

The principal and other managers take turns in the classroom or drive bus routes. After Ohio revised the requirements, even college students and parents are filling in as substitute teachers. This eliminates the need for substitute teachers to obtain a college degree.

However, after students experienced a major setback from virtual school education in 2020, schools see distance learning as a last resort.

“Participating in online learning for a long time is not a positive thing. We will do everything we can to avoid having to do so,” Aaron Rex, director of the Wapaconeta School, told Lima News in an email. ..



Mass absenteeism is a challenge for schools

Source link Mass absenteeism is a challenge for schools

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