Barring any changes, the Aberdeen School District is scheduled to return to in-person learning on Tuesday.
In a letter, Superintendent Alicia Henderson said the District is doing everything it can to avoid another pause to remote instruction by developing out-of-the-box strategies to manage ongoing staff shortages.
Students return to school in person on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
“Everyone is looking forward to seeing students again and we know they are ready to come back, too,” Dr. Henderson said. “And while there is no sign that the surge in COVID cases is waning at this time, we are committed to maintaining our in-person instruction for the remainder of the year.”
The District used the pause on in-person instruction to “reimagine and strategize” how schools can safely operate with high absenteeism.
Superintendent Henderson explained that when you put safety first, there are three areas that must be prioritized:
“Classroom coverage is a priority,” Dr. Henderson said. “But what happens is that once we have classrooms covered, we are short student supervision in other areas of the building” such as during recess, getting on and off the bus and during the lunch period. The district has identified staff who are eligible to volunteer for this additional work and they will be the called upon first when needs arise.” For example, custodians or maintenance staff may be scheduled for bus duty or lunch supervision.
Transportation is another critical area of operations that will be managed on a day-to-day basis, Dr. Henderson said. Rather than close school, there may be days when some bus routes are not operating.
“I think it’s well known that we are experiencing a critical shortage of bus drivers,” she said. “There may be days when some transportation routes cannot be offered and we will communicate this with as much advance notice as possible.”
“Everyone has done an amazing job during this remote period, including our students,” Dr. Henderson added. “These COVID disruptions are not easy on families, students or staff. The flexibility everyone has shown is greatly appreciated, and we will continue to do everything we can to operate in-person.”