Area schools move to remote learning, closures amid staffing shortages, increased absences

MIAMI VALLEY — Multiple school districts in the Miami Valley are moving to remote learning this week. Many of them say the change is due to the rise in COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

While districts said they were going remote for just a few days, that could end up changing if rising cases continue to cause staffing shortages.

Dayton, Fairborn, Northridge and West Carrollton schools all moved to remote learning this week with the hope of returning to in-person classes on January 18, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Troy City Schools will be closed Friday, January 14 only due to the high number of staff and student illnesses, a district spokesperson said. Schools are already closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and classes are set to resume Tuesday, January 18, the spokesperson said.

Gene Lolli, Fairborn City Schools superintendent, told News Center 7′s Candace Price that the school has not had “great week with student or staff in attendance.” The district reported about 270 students and 80 staff members were out now due to illness.

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“Hopefully this little break will help, but that’ll remain to be seen,” Lolli said.

In a statement, West Carrollton City Schools officials said that staffing issues caused them to go remote on Thursday, January 13.

“All of the staff has been working together to ensure that classes are covered and services are provided to students; however, in order to allow students and staff to complete quarantine periods and return to school on January 18, the school district has opted to provide remote learning for students on Thursday, January 13,” West Carrollton City Schools wrote on their website.

Northridge Local Schools switch to remote learning last week and reported having 53 staff and 136 students out with COVID-19.

Dayton Public Schools announced Tuesday that schools would be switching to blended learning for Thursday, January 13th and Friday, January 14th due to increased absences.

“We hope that this time at home will give everyone an opportunity to get well,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, Dayton Public Schools, said in a message to the district.

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Huber Heights City Schools announced Thursday that all Huber Heights City Schools would move to remote learning beginning January 14 and plan to return to in-person learning January 24.

In a letter to district families, Superintendent Mario Basora said that due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in the district “just do not have the staff or substitute coverage to maintain a safe and quality in-person learning environment for our students.”

Tipp City Schools announced Tuesday that their schools would make the switch to remote learning on January 13 and would return to in-person learning on January 24. Additionally, all extra-curricular activities, including athletic practices and games, have been canceled until January 17.

Valley View School District announced Wednesday that schools would be moving to remote learning on January 13 after seeing “no improvement in the number of absent students and staff due to illness and quarantine.” The district is using their first calamity day on Friday, January 14 and plan to return to in-person classes on January 18.

Springboro Schools will use two calamity days and will be closed January 13 and 14. In a letter to parents, Superintendent Larry Hook said the district does not “have the teacher/staff coverage, due to absences, for all our students.” Classes will resume in-person on January 18.

Mad River Schools announced Stebbins High School, Mad River Middle School, Spinning Hills Middle School, and the Preschool will move to remote learning for the remainder of the week due to staffing issues caused by staff illness. In-person learning will resume on Tuesday, January 18, for Stebbins, Mad River Middle, Spinning Hills, and the Preschool. All evening events and activities will be canceled from Thursday, January 13 through Monday, January 17. All activities will resume Tuesday, January 18.

Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools announced Wednesday that schools will be closed January 14 due to the increase of student and staff absences. They will resume in-person classes on January 18. Weekend activities will continue as scheduled.

The district did not say this was directly connected to COVID cases, but the COVID-19 dashboard on the district’s website showed more than 80 students and staff tested positive between Tuesday and yesterday.

News Center 7 emailed all of the school board members and superintendent for clarification Wednesday night, and only school board member Kevin Price responded saying “we needed to ask the superintendent.”