COVID causes staffing shortages forcing JCPS into virtual learning

JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio hoped to avoid NTI days, but said there weren't enough teachers and staff to safely run the school district.
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 12:46 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 12:59 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said he will not push for more school from home, or Non Traditional Instruction days, because he wants students in class. However, Pollio said on Sunday he had to go against his goal because there simply aren’t enough teachers or staff to run an effective or safe district. It’s a decision that impacts thousands of families.

Pollio said the district waited until 6 p.m. the night before school to make the call because school officials were watching everything closely; especially Friday into Saturday. While Pollio said it was hoped the district could go back to school, as more staff started testing positive the inevitable had to happen.

Monday morning when students are usually roaming JCPS halls, the district superintendent explained why they won’t be for at least a week. There’s not enough staff to fill the halls let alone classrooms. Too many are testing positive for COVID.

More central office staff were being sent into schools to fill in. There also weren’t enough substitutes to cover the nearly 600 teachers who were out. Staff absences were growing by the day.

Pollio said the district was holding out hope that it could pull through but had to pull the plug on in-person learning Sunday night.

“These have been very difficult decisions,” Pollio said. “It has been difficult times obviously across our community and our nation but in education more. This is a struggle across all districts right now... we’re struggling.”

JCPS is following a 10-day quarantine for staff.

In term of students being ready for school from home Tuesday, most students already have their Chromebooks. If they don’t, students need to get them before class on Tuesday. Pollio said they can reach out to their teachers.

Meals will still be provided at select schools Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

JCPS has a total of 10 NTI days for the 2021-22 school year. Four of those will be used this week. Pollio said if the district needs more than the 10 available days, the extra days will have to be tacked on to the end of the school year.

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