Kearney School District says staffing shortages may lead to remote learning

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 23:27:21-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Another Kansas City metro school district is warning families that a transition to remote learning could be coming if COVID-19 cases in the area continue to trend upward.

Kearney School District Superintendent Matthew Miller said in a message to families on Wednesday that as community spread worsens, more staff and students have had to quarantine.

“In addition to an increased number of employees that must quarantine, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find enough substitutes to cover in-person teaching, learning and supervision responsibilities,” Miller said. “If the current trend of community spread continues to get worse, we will likely need to determine whether to move to 100% online learning in some district areas.”

Miller said that no decisions have been made yet on transitioning to fully remote learning. If the district does come to that decision, it may only impact specific classrooms, grade levels or schools, as opposed to a district-wide shutdown.

“We are not alone in this complex decision making and comprehensive set of circumstances being considered,” Miller said. “We continue to collaborate with Clay County Public Health Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, other health officials and school districts in our region.”

On Wednesday, the district's COVID-19 dashboard showed eight students and three staff currently in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. Another 158 students and 12 staff are quarantined after being in close contact with someone who tested positive.

Other school districts in the metro, including the Shawnee Mission School District and North Kansas City Schools, have expressed concerns about staffing shortages as large numbers of teachers and personnel are forced to quarantine.

The seven-county Kansas City metro is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, reporting more in the first 10 days of November than in the entire month of October.