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Staffing shortages force Douglas schools back to remote learning

DUSD plans in-person return on Feb. 8
Dozens of students tested positive for COVID-19 at Douglas High School just this week, according to superintendent Ana Samaniego.
Posted at 9:29 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-22 12:42:26-05

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KGUN) — Douglas Unified School District is going back to fully remote learning for the next two weeks as COVID cases and staffing shortages pile up.

An in-person return is set fro Tuesday, Feb. 8 after a regularly scheduled off-day on Monday.

Superintendent Ana Samaniego says this week the number of staff out due to positive tests or exposure more than tripled—reaching more than 100—while dozens of district students have also tested positive.

Samaniego says the district is no longer able to provide “sufficient and direct supervision of students.”

“When you are having to compile or join two to three classrooms to maybe two staff to supervise, then you start questioning the purpose and how safe is it and how much instruction is going on when you’re having to pull from support staff that is not qualified,” she explained.

Full classrooms of younger students had already been sent home in recent weeks for five days due to COVID exposure, according to Samaniego.

She also says the district was able to go fully remote and sidestep Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order barring such a move because the district adopted an Instructional Time Model to meet instructional hour requirements outside of a classroom setting.

Samaniego is optimistic the break from in-person learning won’t have to be extended further, and recognizes that in-person learning is a far better option for students.

“I am very hopeful that the 10 days will allow many of our staff to have that five-day period, or a little plus because some people are needing more than five days. And our students obviously need that period too to get healthy and come back.”