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How are schools weathering the COVID storm?

Schools navigating COVID
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 10:18 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More local schools are moving to E-learning as the Omicron variant continues circulating throughout the community.

But some others are choosing to stay open for in-person learning.

Nearly a dozen of Jefferson County’s 57 schools are closed to in-person learning because there are so many teachers, faculty, and staff out dealing with COVID.

Jefferson County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, said the district makes every effort to keep schools open because in-person learning is best for students.

But he had to make the tough decision to close 10 schools and go to remote learning because he said it just wasn’t safe.

Dr. Gonsoulin said there are several teachers and bus drivers out with COVID.

Meanwhile, in Hoover, district leaders said they’re struggling to keep school doors open, buses running, meals served, and classes taught.

A spokesperson for the district said administrators are helping to cover classes because of teacher and staff absences.

District leaders have met with school administrators to discuss remote learning options to ensure schools are ready, if remote learning becomes necessary.

In Jefferson County, Dr. Gonsoulin said all hands are on deck, but he doesn’t want to overwhelm the already strained system.

“We never want to have so few faculty members that we have to put several different classes together making it unsafe or put kids in a large area for one person or two people to cover. A large area being the auditorium or cafeteria, and so, when we get to that point, or right before we get to that point, that’s when we know we have to make a decision to go on remote,” Dr. Gonsoulin said.

He added that the decision to close schools is sometimes made on the fly because the morning may start out fully staffed, but the situation could change by the afternoon.

He anticipates the 10 schools that are closed for in-person learning now will be able to reopen by Monday.

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