SJSD wants to classify teachers, staff as 'essential'

Administrators and board members say that it would help with staffing by reducing the amount of time staff is placed on quarantine if exposed to a positive Covid-19 person.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 10:46 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2020 10:43 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- Board members with the St. Joseph School District met on Tuesday to discuss the growing problem with teacher shortages due to Covid-19-required quarantines.

During a special meeting, the board of education discussed a proposal to designate employees as 'essential'. They say that they would then be able to modify the amount of time given for quarantines.

Currently, the district follows CDC guidelines. If an employee shows symptoms and tests positive, they are then required to be away from school for at least ten days. For those who are exposed to a positive-Covid-19 patient, they are required to quarantine for 14 days.

This has led to a significant shortage of teachers in the schools.

"Right now we're running out of subs. We're pulling all of the other people from the staff in to fill in. We're putting extra kids in the classrooms which we know doesn't do anything to help with social distancing," said Tami Pasley, president of the board of education.

The board directed administrators to come up with other plans that would reduce quarantine times.

However, representatives of teachers' groups at the meeting were hesitant to support any change, saying it could put them in more danger and raise anxiety levels.

The issue will be reviewed once again at the next scheduled board meeting, which will be Monday, October 26.

Saint Joseph
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This week will be much cooler than last week for northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Wind chills Monday morning will be in the teens with the daytime high only getting into the 40s. Tuesday we will see a little bit of a warm up with highs in the mid 40's.
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