HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Cullman county schools and Decatur city schools announced they are moving to virtual learning because of staffing shortages and more school systems are expected to do the same thing.
The Omicron variant has impacted teachers and schools across the Tennessee Valley, putting a strain on the amount of available substitute teachers. But not only are teachers getting sick, some are also leaving the industry entirely.
"For example now we have a couple teachers that are on COVID leave and those grade levels have really come together to support one another and to maintain those students that are here with us," Owens Cross Roads Elementary Principal Adam Hampton said.
In the Madison county system between august 2020 and April 2021, 93 staff members retired and 176 staff members resigned making a total of 261 in just nine months. During that time the system has hired 410 new staff members to make a total of 1251 staff members in the district.
"Great resiliency was required and I believe our teachers have been heroic in many senses to meet those challenges," Hampton explained.
Every district faces challenges, but principal Hampton was able to retain most of his staff during the pandemic.
The Madison county school system is trying to solve the substitute problem by creating an additional role at each of it's 28 schools.
"When teachers are quarantined or excluded from campus due to sickness, they can have a certified teacher come in and continue to meet the needs of the student."
This new position will act as a floater to fill in for teachers when they go on sick leave.