Potential COVID Closure

Important COVID Update for Parents
Posted on 01/07/2022
This is the image for the news article titled Important COVID Update for ParentsIn a parent email today, Superintendent Matt Miller asked parents to be prepared in the event that a school might be forced to close for a day or more due to staff absences and the lack of substitutes. Read the entire email below.

Dear Lakota Parents and Guardians,
We continue to monitor our positive COVID numbers, including the number of teacher absences. Like the rest of the county and the State, our COVID numbers are climbing. It is important to note that, consistent with what we were seeing before break, in-school spread is not causing this upward trend. Additionally, other illnesses typically on the rise this time of year are causing staff and student absences above and beyond those related to COVID. These absences, combined with a lack of substitutes, is a cause of great concern in a few of our buildings.

We are writing to ask that our families prepare in the event that we must close their school for a day or more because of an abundance of teacher absences and lack of substitutes. Please understand that this would be a last resort. However, we have a few buildings where we are very concerned about the number of absences already in our system that have not been filled by a substitute at this time.

We are doing everything possible to keep our students in school. We commend our principals and building staff immensely for shifting schedules and covering classes when a substitute teacher is not available. However, in some locations, this is putting an unsustainable strain on our staff as our absences due to COVID and other illnesses continue to climb. While it is not a reason to close a building, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the increase in bus routes without drivers that continues to put a strain on our families as well.

This is not a problem that is unique to Lakota. Districts throughout our region and Ohio are facing the same challenge. To help offset this, we have increased our substitute pay to be one of the highest in the county. Additionally, Petermann, our transportation partner, is offering signing bonuses for new drivers.

As we've said before, please understand that we continue to monitor our positive cases in light of in-school spread. If at any time we see this trending upward district-wide or in a particular building, we will consider the option to temporarily close or reinstate masks to help slow the spread. So far, consistent with before break, we are not seeing this trend.

Closing a building because of a lack of substitutes is not what we want to do. However, we want our families to be prepared in case we are forced to make this decision in the future due to staff absences.

Matthew J. Miller