District considering policy change to address the problem.
PITTSBURG, Kan. – For months, the highest priority in schools across the four-states has been to keep students safe and healthy.
That’s still true today, but now Pittsburg School District says they’re seeing a different issue because of COVID-19 cases in the community.
“What we’re seeing more is that we’ve got more teachers that are having to be placed into quarantine,” says Pittsburg School District Superintendent Richard Proffitt.
According to the district, two percent of staff members were COVID positive on November 2nd. There are around 750 staff members in the district, so that’s around 15.
Since the 2nd, according to the district website, there’s been 13 more staff members who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or had high-risk exposure. Five staff members have also had low-risk contact, but according to the Crawford County Health Department, those staff members can still work in person as long as they follow specific safety protocols.
But, it’s unclear how many teachers are currently unable to work in person, since the numbers the district reports include all staff members, and the district won’t disclose the number directly.
Also, even when teachers are quarantined, they can still teach remotely. But even that still leaves some gaps.
“Because we still have our students who are in the building, we have to have proper supervision. And we’ve got a lot of great substitutes who are here on a daily basis. But if you have more quarantines, do you have enough substitutes to make sure you can adequately supervise all the students?” says Proffitt.
The district is still looking into different policy changes to address the problem. One option is to move to remote learning within specific buildings. But nothing is set in stone.
“We don’t want to make a knee jerk reaction. We want to make sure that we are educating our public and our students and especially our staff if we have to make any changes.”
Until the district decides what to do, officials and some residents are imploring the community to do what they can now to flatten the curve.
“The exposure that we’re seeing in our schools is not a manifestation of the effort that’s being made in our schools because those efforts are just absolutely unprecedented, ” says Pittsburg resident Shawnee Lorenz. “We as a community, in our families, in our own personal circles, if we don’t take the steps to care for ourselves, we expose those around us that try to care and help our children.”
In all schools across Crawford County, there are 13 school staff members who are under isolation order, and 24 staff members who are quarantined.