LAUREL- Laurel Public Schools is facing staff shortages due to COVID-19. They are in the third week of having 1st, 3rd and 4th grade taught online, although the superintendent said she is optimistic they will be able to have all students return to school next week. They are also facing a shortage of bus drivers.
Superintendent Linda Filpula said, "If we have half of our students gone, we can still have school. But, if we have half of our staff gone, we can't. Like, today at the middle school, we have approximately 60 staff members. We have 19 staff out today at the middle school. That's like one third of the staff. That's really hard to operate on."
Filpula added, "Our staff is phenomenal, but they're stressed."
The district currently has about half of the bus drivers they need. Filpula said "We have 12 routes and five bus drivers to run them."
She said that means drivers are running double bus routes. They run the first route and drop those students off about 45 minutes before school starts. Then, they run a second bus route.
Filpula said they are currently hiring substitute teachers. They have a position called Roving Sub. It pays $120/day. Filupla said Roving Subs make a daily commitment. They are typically assigned to a school where their responsibilities may shift from day to day. You can contact Laurel Public Schools for more information here.
Filpula said they are also preparing for the possibility of having to shift more students online. Students in grades 7-12 already have devices and they waiting on devices for students in grades K-6.
She said, "We've ordered 1,000 Chrome Books, but they haven't arrived yet. We are hoping they'll be here before Christmas."