LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Most teachers in Clark County return to school Tuesday ahead of students on Wednesday. In the meantime, principals are already getting the news that some staff members will miss the start of the semester due to COVID-19.
"I don't know if any of us know come Wednesday and come the rest of the week what it will look like, but I can assure you the Clark County School District is ready to deal with this and can handle this," Liberty High School Principal Derek Bellow said.
Bellow said as of Monday night less than five teachers will be out of the classroom this week due to COVID-19. That’s a small portion of the roughly 130 teachers, however he said he’s aware that number could easily escalate. Even pre-pandemic, schools in the district struggled to find enough substitutes to fill in for teachers that were out sick. He and other principals said that's now a serious issue.
Over winter break, COVID-19 cases in Clark County reached single-day figures that haven’t been seen since last winter.
"Absolutely it's hitting us hard and heavy over at my school," Principal of Woolley Elementary Joseph Uy said.
Uy said about seven staff members at his school will likely miss the return from winter break, because they have COVID-19 or are taking care of a loved one that does. When workers are out, he said he and the other staff have to step up to fill various roles.
"Basically I call it all hands on deck,” Uy said. “Whoever is available we're going to make it work regardless."
The principals know losing any staff member from custodians, to bus drivers, to the teachers can disrupt a lot with the current worker shortage. However. the principals said it is the utmost importance to try to keep the students healthy and in the classroom.
"There's absolutely no substitute for students being in the classroom,” Bellow said. “If a student is out with COVID that will certainly slow down the learning process."
To keep COVID-19 off campus the principals said students will be coming back to a clean environment with strict enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing in the classroom.
"If we can do those things and remind our students to abide by that, I think we'll be fine and get through this," Bellow said.
"Rest assured when you send your kids to school, we will take care of them," Uy said.
CCSD classes resume Wednesday morning.