Omicron Variant

Omicron Surge Causes School Staffing Issues in North Texas

The latest surge in COVID-19 cases is taking a toll on classrooms

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Many North Texas school leaders are dealing with a host of issues caused by the surge in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant.

Notes started going out over the weekend about various issues -- bus delays because too many drivers are sick in Plano and Garland and a Colleyville principal warned that while she has enough subs to cover sick teachers now, but that could change soon.

"Teachers want to be in the classroom with students and are doing everything in their power to keep them in person but operationally we're going to see closures, unfortunately," said Steven Poole, Executive Director, United Educators Association.

Poole said s it's a perfect storm of staffing issues in most districts and the numbers are getting worse.

"Fort Worth ISD they have 843 staff quarantined right now out of eight thousand staff and that's after one week of school," he said. 

Even more teachers are out in the Dallas Independent School District. They're already combining classrooms with more kids assigned to one teacher, it may sound rough but they're trying to keep closing virtual learning off the table.

"We're wanting that to be an absolute last resort we're turning out as many alternatives as possible prior," said Priscilla Soltren, Human Resources Director, Dallas ISD.

The Texas Education Agency is trying to help, by cutting down the amount of time teachers are required to be quarantined after being sick.

A source says kids will get shorter quarantine times too. 

In the meantime, more school districts have central office administrators working as subs.

Dallas is giving an extra $50 a day to anyone subbing between now and the beginning of February.

Schools everywhere are bracing for a difficult couple of weeks as this variant surges.

Despite the rising numbers educators seem committed to keeping students learning in the building.

Test scores continue to show a significant drop in performance, since the pandemic.

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