AUSTIN (KXAN) — Omicron has caused staffing shortages across all industries as employees call out sick.
With school back in session this week after holiday travel reached pre-pandemic levels, districts across Central Texas hosted testing clinics for students and staff.
“We had an overwhelming response at our 11 hubs,” said Alana Bejarano, Austin Independent School District director of health services. “We’ve done over 1,200 tests in a short time frame.”
Science teacher Tania Tasneem wanted to get tested at one of the sites near her home, but says she eventually had to get tested outside of AISD — because there was no one at the hub she went to Monday morning.
“I was kind of relying on going to their testing centers because I was having such a hard time finding a spot anywhere,” she said.
Bejarano said there were few hiccups but overall, things went smoothly.
“They sent a tester to accommodate another school that had a greater turnout but we’re going to be testing like we have been since September, so those sites are going to be open consistently for testing,” she said.
Of the roughly 1,200 tested, about one third tested positive, according to Bejarano. But so far, staff levels haven’t taken a big enough hit for AISD to need to readjust. If that issue arises, she says a plan is in place.
“We’re going to use our substitute pool and get creative with our classrooms, but everybody has that plan in place on what to do as a backup if we have more than a few staff members out,” she said.
Eanes ISD tells KXAN a “handful” of teachers are out sick as of Monday morning, and the district is always considering sub options.
In Round Rock, campus COVID-19 coordinators say they are still assessing staff cases reported over the break. The district will call on subs to fill those spots. If subs aren’t available, campus and central office staff may fill in.
Leander says: “We are excited about welcoming students back to campuses tomorrow, Jan. 4. We do not anticipate staff shortages.”