2 more Green Bay schools go virtual due to staff shortages, placing pressure on district

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 8:59 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two more Green Bay schools are switching to virtual learning for the rest of the week due to staffing shortages.

Howe Elementary and the N.E.W. School of Innovation are tentatively scheduled to return back to in-person on Tuesday, January 18, according to the Green Bay Area Public School District.

Superintendent Stephen Murley told Action 2 News staff are wearing multiple hats as they deal with a critical employee shortage.

“The best place for kids to learn is in the classroom,” Murley said. “We want to keep as many kids as long as possible, so we have not entertained the idea that the entire district would wind up going virtual.”

As cases of the Omicron variant surge, it’s knocking teachers and staff out of Green Bay public schools and putting pressure on the district.

“Perhaps the food service staff, the secretarial staff, the custodial staff, maybe monitors or paraprofessionals, or others. They may be able to go to different schools and pick up some of the openings that might occur there,” Murley said.

Earlier this week, the Green Bay’s school board voted in favor of shortening the quarantine period to seven days for those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic. This reflects guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The intent is to keep those closures as short as possible, which is why we didn’t select a longer period of time. A week or 10 days, or something like that,” Murley said.

The district planned a live virtual event on public safety for Wednesday night where parents could ask questions. Yet, Murley said they pre-recorded it due to concern staff would be out sick.

The webinar gave parents tips on how to spot bad behavior in their children and to encourage their kids to speak up and say something if they see something dangerous.

“Talk to them about appropriate use of social media and monitor their accounts to make sure they are using it correctly,” Chris Collar, Green Bay school district safety and security coordinator, said. “Pay attention to to any sudden changes in moods or behaviors.”

Here is a link from Green Bay public school’s website to download the 17 minute webinar: https://www.gbaps.org/news/what_s_new/district_webinar_series.

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