FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) is weighing its options while it tries to weather the storm that the pandemic is causing on staffing.
“There will come a time where we can’t accommodate every student, everyday,” Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel said during a Facebook Live Tuesday night.
A problem plaguing Indiana’s largest school district is a shortage of substitute teachers.
Daniel described the struggles the district has seen in terms of teacher and substitute teaching due to cases and close contacts throughout the schools. He said they are still seeing students in quarantine for 10 days.
“The vast majority of our staff members are vaccinated, so in a lot of cases it’s not that teachers are out because they are quarantine themselves, but maybe because they tested positive or have to take care of someone else.” said Krista Stockman, FWCS’ spokesperson.
Daniel stated that the district has to think more creatively to lookout for students and staff. A last resort would be remote learning for schools, which is referred to as the rolling blackout. Meaning certain schools will be remote on certain days.
“That would allow staff from those buildings, so to say your custodians, food service, bus drivers, anyone really to go to other buildings to help out,” he said.
The first option is to hire more people, not just teachers, but custodians and bus drivers as well.
“That doesn’t mean we are lowering our standards, people still have to meet our standards and they still have to pass the background check,” Stockman said,
The district has made no formal decisions on remote learning, but Daniel said the options are becoming smaller as they continue. He also said there are no additional meetings for teachers for the next two weeks.
Statewide, Indiana schools have reported just under 33,000 COVID cases since the school year began two months ago. The state recorded 35,773 cases for the entire 2020-2021 school year, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.