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TUSD says schools are remaining open despite COVID causing staffing problems

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 00:10:54-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — On Monday, 354 teachers were out sick, according to TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo.

Trujillo said that this number is encouraging considering they had 430 teachers out eight days ago. This has caused other teachers and staff in the district to step up.

"The majority of our teachers this is a very difficult time," Trujillo said. "A lot of our teachers are losing their planning periods because they have to cover classes."

Despite the number of teachers out with COVID-19, schools will remain open across the district.

"At this particular point in time we have no school in TUSD that has arrived at the point where it does not have enough staff to be able to open the school," Trujillo said.

He said that for a school to close, there would have to be 40% to 50% of teachers out sick. This type of closure would fall under an operational issue.

"You're at a level of classes that need to be covered that easily overwhelm campus level staff," Trujillo said.

Schools can also close for longer periods of time due to COVID-19, but those decisions have to go through the state.

"The staffing situation is fluid from day-to-day," Trujillo said. "Recommending school closures for a week or two weeks is not as effective as looking at schools at a daily basis and considering a closure on a day-by-day basis because you have students and staff members coming in and out of the school."

The district currently has a mask mandate in place and is now suggesting the use of surgical grade masks. Trujillo said that the district has ordered N95 masks to give to staff and students in the coming weeks.