Absences and teacher shortages are hitting Southwest Valley school districts hard as the country experiences a cascade of Omicron cases, a surge that experts say should reach its peak in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, Agua Fria High School District Superinetnendet Mark Yslas sent a letter to families titled "Efforts to keep schools open" less than two weeks after students returned from winter break.
“We all knew the weeks following the holidays there would be a spike in positive Covid-19 cases and it would be a challenging time for all of us,” Yslas said in the letter, which suggests the district is experiencing a shortage of teachers and support staff.
The full letter sent to district parents and families Tuesday:
The letter states that it is using “all available staff to teach and monitor classrooms” and that teachers are being asked to use their prep time to substitute for absent colleagues.
On Wednesday evening, the district’s coronavirus dashboard reported 75 active COVID cases among staff.
The district said it is “calling in all available substitutes” and is now offering $200 per day for substitute teachers.
The letter reaffirms Yslas’ commitment to keeping campuses open for in-person learning.
Agua Fria is experiencing a record-high number of COVID cases. The district reported 455 active cases on Wednesday around 4:50 p.m.
Prior to winter break, the district was reporting close to 60 or 70 cases districtwide. Now, the district’s five traditional campuses are reporting between 80 and 100 cases each.
This is an ongoing story, and reporters have reached out to district administration for more information.
Madeline Ackley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or found on Twitter @Mkayackley.
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