Staffing shortages push schools to remote learning

Staffing shortages push schools to remote learning
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 8:43 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Onslow County Schools will move to remote instruction for Friday for grades Pre-K through 8th grade as a result of staffing shortages.

The school system said the decision came after it had between 280-300 teachers request substitute replacements due to positive COVID-19 tests, scheduled vacation time, or other time off.

“And the numbers that we were seeing of staff that were going to be out were higher than any that we’ve ever seen before,” Brent Anderson, OCS chief communication officer said.

Anderson says the district is working with community partners to make accommodations for parents who work during instructional hours.

“I know it’s going to be a challenge for a lot of families to figure out what to do,” Anderson said.

Mental health specialists say the staffing shortages and changes in school structures and schedules have caused a mental strain on teachers and students.

“Teachers are absolutely pushed to the brink to cover shortages in staffing. Students, school-age children... they need structure,” Keith Hamm, Integrated Family Services mental health specialist said.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced a directive this week to help combat school districts’ staffing shortages.

The directive will allow state employees to use paid leave to serve as substitute staff in schools while also keeping any compensation they earn as substitutes. The state employees will be required to undergo training for substitute teacher positions.

The State Human Resource Commission’s Community Service Leave Policy says full-time state employees are eligible for 24 hours of paid community service leave each calendar year.

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