KILLEEN, Texas — COVID-19 is still having a major impact on local school districts across our area.
Killeen Independent School District Superintendent Dr. John Craft is asking parents to serve as paid substitutes and asking those who are sick to stay home.
District leaders say their biggest concern is not only the number of teachers out sick with COVID-19, but the number of absences being caused by the number of cases.
KISD spokesperson, Taina Maya, said the district was short teachers before COVID-19 and are still short teachers because of COVID-19.
That is why KISD is asking more parents if they can step up.
"We rely heavily on substitutes, our aids, our classroom and district support,” said Maya. “We have administrators who are subbing in classes, helping lunch duty, anywhere they can. We are all hands-on deck.”
With there not being enough teachers, KISD is getting creative with the way they teach.
"Some of these classes may be combined into auditoriums, gyms and cafeterias because we are able to put a certified KISD teacher in the classroom to teach those groups of students the lesson,” said Maya. “So that is how they are able to be educated."
Maya said a lot of parents are asking why they have not gone back to virtual learning.
"The real reason is the Texas Education Agency does not allow a school district to go 100 percent virtual learning. That was something we were allowed to do in the 2020 and 2021 school year,” said Maya. "For this school year we were told by the TEA, unless 100 percent of students have COVID-19 or are isolating due to close contact, then they deserve the right to a free and appropriate education. We do not have the ability to turn on the switch to virtual as easily as we had in the past."
KISD is not required to provide transportation to every student, therefore the district is considering only providing transportation to special education students if they don't have enough bus drivers to drive the routes.
On Wednesday, KISD announced a new return to work guideline for individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.
The Center for Disease Control recommends a five day isolation period for non-vaccinated, unmasked people. If a close contact employee continues to work on campus, rapid testing must be performed every four to five days during the 10-day postexposure period. Employees can come back as early as day five of isolation, if they do so, it is strongly recommended they wear a mask for five days.
If you would like to sign up to be a substitute, click here https://www.killeenisd.org/substitute_center