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Temple ISD administrators, staff and others fill-in for teachers impacted by COVID-19

Posted at 11:09 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 00:26:47-05

It has been a tough start to 2022 for local schools' districts, including Temple ISD.

“At least last week we were averaging 70 teachers per day that were out. That’s COVID related. That does not mean they themselves tested positive it could have been a family member,” said Temple ISD Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott.

With the virus impacting nearly 70 teachers, and with trouble finding substitutes, administrators are now stepping into the classrooms.

“We’ve been able to cover 30 through subs. Which leaves 40 across the district that would be covered by existing staff,” said Dr. Ott.

Staff, teachers-aids and others are also filling-in. Health experts say every industry is facing staffing shortages due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

“Many substitute teachers are hired on an as needed basis. They could be working for more places as well, more than one district,” said Texas A&M University-Central Texas Department of Nursing Director & Chair Amy Mersiovsky.

According to the state health department, there are more than 26,469 positive student cases across the state and over 11,782 staff cases. While Temple ISD is seeing a rise, it is not enough to consider shutting down any schools.

“I work with the Bell County health department. They establish with all the Bell County school district 5% active case threshold to start the conversation about a school closure. We are no near 5% of any campus,” said Dr. Ott.

Officials say their impacted staff is still quarantining for 14-days, despite the CDC’s updated recommendation of only 5.