‘Our substitute teacher pool is tapped out’: MISD talks campus safety amid the coronavirus surge

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MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Midland ISD is struggling to fill teacher vacancies amid the most recent COVID-19 surge. 

As of Tuesday, the district reported 552 students and staff are out with the virus. The cumulative total since the beginning of the school year is 1,017. 

As such, the district is seeing between three and four hundred staff absences per day. And there are not enough substitute teachers to fill the need. 

“The vast majority of our staff are also parents and care givers who have to take time off for their children or spouses when they become sick. We’re not always able to fill those absences. There is not an endless supply of substitute teachers, our substitute teacher pool is tapped out,” said Superintendent Dr. Angelica Ramsey.

Which means, the district may have to consider temporarily closing heavily impacted campuses. 

“The prevalence of COVID-19 in our schools and in our community is challenging our ability to continue operating our schools safely. We don’t want to be forced to make the difficult decision of closing a campus because we’re unable to safely staff it,” Ramsey said. 

As such, the district is asking everyone to do their part.

“We continue to ask everyone to please send their children to school wearing a mask,” Ramsey said.

The district is working on additional mitigation efforts as well and may add masks to the dress code. For now, those mitigation strategies are a work in progress, but new information is expected sometime this week.

MISD is also asking anyone eligible to get vaccinated. Additionally, anyone interested in becoming a substitute teacher is encouraged to apply.

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