COVID-19 quarantines result in school district staff shortages, shifts to remote learning

Classroom Progress Report

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — K-12 schools have been a relatively safe place for kids and staff when it comes to COVID-19. And yet, the virus is once again forcing schools to shift to remote learning.

This week, in Niskayuna, the superintendent of schools, Cosimo Tangorra, told NEWS10 ABC that his district had a number of people under quarantine. 

“We had a positive student, staff members that resulted in the quarantine of a number of students and about a dozen staff members.”

And Tangorra says, with a shortage of about a dozen staff members, they made the tough decision to shift to remote coursework with a plan to return to in-person learning after the Thanksgiving break.

In nearby Guilderland, it’s much the same issue.

“So, the issue for us is not at all about transmission of disease. But about the number of people who are quarantined. We just ran out of people to supervise those classrooms.”

Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles says they had no choice but to transition the high school to remote lessons until after the Thanksgiving break. To make matters worse, there’s also a shortage of substitute teachers in the Capital Region.

Wiles says they are currently in the process of hiring subs specifically for Guilderland.

“But we are in that process. They are not on staff, yet, so, we couldn’t access them, yet. They will be with us very soon, though.”

NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked Wiles if she felt there is a chance that schools may not be returning to in-person lessons after the Thanksgiving break.

Wiles responded, “Well, you know, I can’t see the future. I just feel so strongly that we need to do everything in our power to keep our buildings open. And that we need everyone to do their part to keep the spread of infection down. So, let’s hope everyone does that.”

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