Rural School Districts Struggle With Teacher, Student Shortages Due To COVID-19

Thursday, January 21st 2021, 6:21 pm

A number of rural school districts are seeing teacher and student shortages because of COVID-19.

One Salina High School student is on a ventilator because of the virus.

On Tuesday, the Salina Public Schools District posted to Facebook saying "…one of our own students, a female 9th grader is in St. Francis Children's Hospital fighting COVID-19 complications. She has been sedated and put on a ventilator."

District leaders also they have been in virtual learning since last week, due to staffing shortages.

"We are too near the point though of being unable to safely take care of our students and our staff with in-person learning," Mannford Superintendent Kelly Spradlin said in a video he posted Tuesday.

In the video, he said the district had too many positive cases and isolations to continue school in-person.

"This is not what we wanted but I am at peace for now this is the right move in the best manner possible," Spradlin said.

Nowata Public Schools Superintendent Chris Tanner said he and 20% of their teachers are in quarantine. Therefore, their Middle School and High School are in distance learning until Monday.

"I know it's a hardship on families in that and I don't like doing that and we have a fantastic veteran staff and teachers for a servant's heart, and they want to be there, and they want to be with those kids. I think that's the hardest part," Tanner said.

Tanner said they have decreased 50 kids in enrollment for next year, and he worries about their budget. Tanner also said the district has shifted to distance learning at least 4 times, and for the most part, teachers have kept up with virtual lessons.

The Salina school district said the student is still in the hospital and they ask for people to pray for her.