Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Georgetown ISD will continue to serve students who opted for a virtual learning option in November through the rest of the school year.
GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Students are back from winter break, and the Georgetown Independent School District is struggling to find substitute teachers and school bus drivers to fill the number of staff out sick with COVID-19, according to the district’s superintendent.
“We are scrambling to cover our classes. We’ve been short on substitute teachers and drivers like all of our neighbors,” Superintendent Fred Brent said. Hutto ISD canceled its bus routes Monday due to staffing shortages, while Leander ISD had its on a delay for the same reason.
Last Thursday, Georgetown ISD said it had 94 of its 967 total teachers out “for a variety of reasons” not necessarily related to COVID-19.
The Georgetown ISD superintendent said masks are still not required for students and staff on campus.
“First and foremost, it is about respecting the rights of our families who make the decisions for their children,” he said. “So we have people who wear face masks and we have people who do not.”
Districtwide online learning is also not the answer, Brent said.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “Our students need to be engaged, connected. We are creatures of connection. We need to be together. So, we are going to do all that we can to keep our schools open.”
The district said it will continue to serve students who opted for the virtual learning program in November through the rest of the school year, but it is not looking at remote learning as a districtwide solution during a COVID-19 surge.