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SJSD staff deemed essential, Covid quarantine time reduced

School board members said they made the decision because of extreme staffing shortages due to dozens of teachers being out because of quarantining.

Posted: Oct 26, 2020 11:05 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 9:09 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- The Board of Education at the St. Joseph School District on Monday voted to classify their teachers as essential workers.

The unanimous vote means that educators forced to quarantine because of close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus will now be out for only seven days instead of 14 if they show no symptoms of the virus.

The district has been plagued with staffing issues due to dozens of teachers being out because of quarantining.

The measure had been opposed by both the St. Joseph NEA and the St. Joseph Region-Missouri State Teachers Association.

"We are concerned with the potential exposure that will be within our schools now even with precautions and even with social distancing this still could increase the spread across our community," said J. Eric Simmons, the president of the St. Joseph NEA.

The board agreed that the new policy will start to take effect on Monday, November 2.

Also during their board meeting, the board voted unanimously to continue its hybrid approach to learning through the rest of the semester. Students are going to class on alternating days to allow for better social distancing and reduce potential exposures to Covid-19.

They also accepted a recommendation from administration to reduce their budget by $2.3 million for the rest of the year due to a shortfall of revenues.

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Cold and frosty conditions out the door this morning with temperatures in the 20s. Clouds will gradually clear today with sunshine returning by the afternoon. Temperatures will be seasonal today with highs in the upper 30s and lower 40s. Tuesday will be the warmest day of the week with highs in the upper 40s under mostly sunny skies. Tuesday night a cold front will move through, bringing us a breezy northerly wind and some much cooler temperatures. Highs will only make it to the 20s on Wednesday, and teens on Thursday with sub zero wind chills. Dry and sunny weather looks to continue through the work week into the weekend.
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