Omicron causing school staffing issues

According to Woodford County Schools Superintendent Danny Adkins, nearly 50 staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Following Woodford County’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Woodford County Public Schools are switching to Non-Traditional Instruction days until Friday.

Tuesday, the school district reached its breaking point, with nearly 50 staff out sick. According to Woodford County Schools Superintendent Danny Adkins, the schools didn’t have enough substitutes to fill the number of teacher absences for the rest of the week.

“Just at this point for Woodford County, it’s become such a tiring process for everyone with so many staff members being sick and out, it’s best for students and staff to take these days to rest and recover,” said Superintendent Adkins.

However, Adkins stresses that the district’s goal is to remain in-person as much as possible.

“It’s our top priority to keep in-person school going. We hadn’t missed a day for COVID until now actually. We got through the whole first semester and didn’t miss school at all. We’ve been very fortunate with that if you look at the districts around us,” said Adkins.

According to the Woodford County Health Department, the county is averaging about 70 to 80 cases per day, but numbers like this are being seen all over Kentucky, with about one in three people testing positive.

“In every single county in Kentucky, we have over 25 cases per 100,000 population,” said Woodford County Health Department Public Health Director Cassie Prather.

However, these numbers are expected to plateau in the next couple of weeks, says Prather:

“The silver lining is some of the places that first saw the infection of the Omicron variant are starting to plateau. So that does give us reason to believe that we should plateau soon and see a decrease soon after the plateau.”

Sharon Sikorski, a Woodford County High School parent, says she supports Woodford County Schools’ decision. She says while her son learns better in school, she thinks that NTI is the right thing to do for the rest of the week.

“He learns better when he can be in school. I think a lot of kids do. But it allows him to keep up, it’s the second best thing. But it’s definitely better than kids and teachers getting sick at school. It’s second best, but it’s what we need to do,” said Sikorski.

With high case numbers, parents in other counties, like Farrah Kyle, a mother of two children enrolled in Clark County Schools, say they support NTI for COVID if their school districts decide virtual learning is necessary.

“I feel like I would go with what they’d decide, they have the student’s best interest in mind and at heart, so I would be okay with it, they’re doing the best that they can with what life is throwing at us right now,” said Kyle.

Woodford County Schools plans to resume in-person classes on Monday.

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