Adams Elementary School will pivot to online instruction because of a large number of staff being under quarantine, according to a Janesville School District release sent Monday.
Students at the school will learn online beginning Wednesday, and the pivot will last until at least Friday, Oct. 9, when the district will reexamine the situation.
“Due to the number of staff being quarantined after being identified as a close contact of other individuals who have a COVID-19 positive test result, we are unable to fully staff Adams Elementary School for face-to-face instruction,” the release reads.
Superintendent Steven Pophal told The Gazette on Wednesday afternoon positive cases were not the driver for the closure. There is currently one active positive case of COVID-19 among district elementary school staff, and 12 elementary staff are in quarantine.
Pophal couldn’t say how many of the quarantined staff are from Adams Elementary, citing health and privacy rights.
The school district's COVID-19 dashboard Monday indicated no elementary school students were positive, in quarantine or monitoring for symptoms.
“We had to pivot to virtual not because we have that much positivity in terms of COVID, but because we just have too many staff quarantined, and we can’t staff the school,” Pophal said.
Replacing staff is especially difficult this year because there are fewer substitute teachers, who often are retired educators in the most at-risk category for the virus.
“Like almost every school district, I think, right now we’re struggling to fill vacancies for substitutes. So when we have staff out, our ability to get a sub in is not going very well right now,” Pophal said.
Adams Elementary is the third building in the district to pivot to virtual learning after Craig High School and Roosevelt Elementary suspended in-person learning Sept. 16. The district recently extended online learning for these schools until Friday, Oct. 2.
The Craig and Roosevelt decisions were made to prevent an outbreak and related to positive cases.
Pophal said Wednesday's pivot at Adams Elementary allows quarantined staff to continue teaching and working with students while quarantined, which will help ensure learning continues.
“They will teach virtually from home and keep school going, and it will just look a little different for a couple weeks,” he said.
During the closure, lunch and breakfast will be available for curbside pick-up at the school between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
More information on the switch will be sent to families Tuesday, a non-instructional day for the school.
“The School District of Janesville is grateful for and appreciates the partnership that exists with our parents and families,” the release reads.
“The SDJ thanks the community for their flexibility, patience, and understanding as we work together to keep our students engaged and learning throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency.”