WEYMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - The latest COVID-19 surge has led to staffing shortages at schools across the Bay State, leaving school officials scrambling following the winter break.
Weymouth High School canceled classes Wednesday due to staffing shortages, Weymouth Public Schools Superintendent Robert Wargo announced in a letter to the community.
The Childcare Program at Weymouth High School is also closed for the day; however, high school athletics are scheduled to resume as normal unless athletes receive additional notice from their coaches or the athletic director.
“While we understand that closing school is challenging for families, we know we must have adequate school support to operate effectively,” Wargo wrote. “We will continue to monitor our capacity to reopen schools over the next 24 hours, and will reassess every 24 hours for the remainder of the week.”
Dedham Public Schools is also dealing with staffing shortages after Superintendent Michael Welch said 13 percent of teachers in the district were absent Monday, along with 18 percent of students.
Welch added that they are also facing a shortage of bus drivers and food service workers.
“We had about a third of our food service staff out, so they no longer did meals for the adults but we made sure all the kids got fed,” he said.
In Boston, more than 1,000 Public Schools teachers and staff members were absent Tuesday on the district’s first day of classes following the holiday break.
Watertown Public Schools Superintendent Dede Galdston said that 16 percent of teachers were out Monday due to coronavirus and other reasons, as well as 22 percent of students.
That district had a two-hour delay Wednesday to ensure that all students who were in positive COVID-19 test pools got tested again. This comes after they closed schools Tuesday to process pooled testing.
In addition to dealing with these shortages, school districts are doing what they can to try to alleviate the spike of COVID-19 cases.
Framingham Public Schools distributed rapid antigen test kits to students.
Schools across the state are also implementing a mask mandate and social distancing guidelines, as well as putting air purifiers in classrooms.
“We hope that all of those measures together make schools the safe place they need to be,” Welch said. “That’s where kids need to be.”
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