Stevensville School Superintendent Bob Moore is hoping a two-week shift to remote learning will help the district get in front of the staffing problems being caused by the pandemic.
Starting Tuesday, all Stevensville School students and staff will be off-campus, as the district uses the time to "reset" against active cases and quarantining.
Stevensville already had a limited shutdown in early October because of a COVID-19 case, but that only lasted for a few days.
This time, students and staff will be switched over to distance learning until "further notice or November 18th".
The district had five active cases last week. But the associated contact tracing and quarantines has gone beyond the capacity to provide teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staff to keep classes running.
"We may quarantine a group of students here, a group of students there and we're able to work flexibly with both in-person and distance learning and moving students back and forth," Moore said. "But when you lose that many adults it's just impossible to keep the doors open."
The goal was to try and schedule the shutdown to get students back in class as safely, and quickly, as possible.
“What we did is, our school nursing staff looked at the quarantine dates, figured out what the 14-day quarantine date was and it turned out, I think to be 7 or 8 days that we would be out of school," said Moore.
The shutdown is a complete one too, involving not only all students but also staff and all activities. Moore hopes that makes the step as effective as possible.
“And I had people saying, well, 'we can bring staff in,' and it’s like, no, our issue is with staff quarantine. Let's take the 14-day quarantine, see who develops symptoms," Moore told MTN News.
"Everybody comes back, hopefully without any symptoms, without any exposure. We, you know, social distance, we wear masks," he continued. "We take care of the education business through distance learning and we're able to come back and hopefully have a pretty clean slate," said Moore.
Moore said the district would really like to hear from anyone with experience teaching, or in other school positions that could help out.