Local schools rang back into session this week with higher student numbers than before the holidays, but concerns remain about having enough substitutes to cover for teachers in quarantine.
“We have had our best attendance in months this week — mainly due to the fact that winter break made quarantines a nonissue,” Crawfordsville superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said.
The new semester began with the same message from schools that parents received when students first returned to the classroom last fall after beginning the year under a hybrid instructional model: In-person classes will continue as long as possible, custodial staff maintains deep cleaning and sanitizing processes and families still have the option of shifting to full distance learning.
The number of students participating in classes entirely from home fluctuates depending on quarantines, the superintendents to say.
A little more than 100 North Montgomery students were learning remotely this week and there were 136 distance learners at Crawfordsville. At South Montgomery, it ranges from about 5% up to 15% across the district.
“We appreciate every day we are in school and we are pleased to be able to offer virtual learning for students who need this option,” South Montgomery superintendent Dr. Shawn Greiner said. “We are always hopeful and planning to stay in session.”
As the week got underway, staffing levels improved as teachers returned or schools called on aides or substitutes to fill in.
College students and a few Wabash professors helped supervise classrooms while they were on semester break, but schools say there is a constant need for additional substitute teachers.
As many as 125 substitutes are in the pool of candidates across the county, including full-time subs and college students who will be returning to school.
While coronavirus spread remains high in the county as a whole, administrators maintain the virus is not widely spreading in schools based on case data.
“As long as we are able to staff our classrooms, we are committed to providing in person instruction. We know this offers the best learning environment for students,” said Dr. Colleen Moran, North Montgomery superintendent.