EXCELSIOR SPRINGS – Deputy Superintendent Jaret Tomlinson said Lewis Elementary School went virtual Nov. 13 and doors will remain closed for more than two weeks.
Closing Excelsior Springs High School and the Career Center this week did not come as much of a surprise to district patrons, Tomlinson said. District leaders created – and made the public aware of the potential use for – in-school, virtual and hybrid education models before the school year started.
“I don’t think it’s a big shock because we had just lost too many staff,” Tomlinson said.
The surprise came when staffing problems extended to Lewis Elementary School.
“Lewis Elementary went virtual as of today,” Tomlinson said. “They will come back on Monday the 30th.”
The virus left the district with no choice, he said.
“We had too many staff out sick,” Tomlinson said. “Some of the staff members have very far-reaching effects, so we were looking at the potential to have to quarantine our entire office; you just can’t replace that. So, it wasn’t just the teachers, it wasn’t just some of the paras, it wasn’t just some of the classified employees, it was a mixture of all of those, and some of those are very key roles.”
The Thanksgiving holiday could impact how quickly, or not, Excelsior Springs schools reopen, Tomlinson said.
“The hope is, with Thanksgiving coming up, if we can somehow get everybody to be healthy and come back on Nov. 30, and we can get back to how things were going before, that would be a win for us,” he said. “But we’re also nervous about everybody going out at Thanksgiving meals and intermingling with other people. There could be another surge come December, but we need to wait and see how that’s going to go.”