School Staffing: What happens if a teacher is exposed to COVID-19?

Keeping Schools Safe

TRI-CITIES (WJHL) — Many school systems in our region are already back in class whether that’s virtually or in person, but what happens if a teacher has to be isolated due to COVID-19 exposure?

“If more and more teachers or assistants do become ill we do have a concern about staffing,” said Dr. Suzanne Bryant, Greeneville City Schools assistant director of schools.

Kingsport City Schools, Johnson County Schools, and Greeneville City Schools are all starting the year with total virtual instruction.

“We are really back into beginning of the year mode,” said Andy True, assistant superintendent of administration with Kingsport City Schools. “So most of our teaching positions at this point we have been able to fill.”

All three districts say they are fully staffed when it comes to full-time and substitute teachers.

However, that could change if teachers are diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We have trained our substitute teachers in our Canvas learning management system and also how to lead Zoom meetings but currently we are not using our substitute teachers for that purpose,” said Bryant. “If we have to have a substitute during online learning our other teachers who teach that same subject or grade level are filling in.”

In Johnson County, Director of Schools Dr. Mischellen Simcox said substitutes won’t be utilized until students are back in the classroom.

“We will not be utilizing substitute teachers while we’re in the virtual learning environment, the full virtual. You know the classroom instruction will have to come from teachers,” Simcox said.

What if a teacher has to quarantine due to COVID19?

“Where we are doing the virtual right now they will just continue to do that from home if they are quarantined,” Simcox said.

All three districts are also prepared with school nurses to help monitor students.

“Having healthcare available in our classrooms, in our schools is always a priority for us even more so now,” said True.

As these school systems convert from virtual learning to back in the classroom their need for substitute teachers will increase, which is something True said Kingsport City Schools is prepared for.

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