The impact of the Covid virus on the Jackson County School System is worse now than was in December, leaders say.
Because of that, the system has moved its middle and high schools to all remote learning through Jan. 25. The move began Jan. 11 following a major uptick in Covid cases hitting both students and teachers.
"Our student cases have markedly increased, and our staff cases are the highest since the onset of the pandemic," said superintendent April Howard. "In addition to our teaching staff, our school nutrition staff, transportation staff, and substitute teachers are being impacted, making staffing our schools and transportation department not feasible in some locations."
In a report to the Jackson County Board of Education last week, superintendent Howard said some of the system's schools are "close to the breaking point" when it comes to finding enough staff to man classrooms.
The situation has become critical despite the system's move to a hybrid, alternating in-person class schedule it began Jan. 4 after returning from the holiday break.
"Prior to the holiday break, we had 62 active positive COVID-19 cases," Howard said. "Now, as of three days into the new semester, we have 85 NEW active positive cases as well as numerous reports of students and staff symptomatic and awaiting test results."
Each day last week, the system reported having over 20 positions it could not fill with substitutes, much higher than its normal rate.