TEA guidance change helps district with staffing issues

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light

Waxahachie ISD has made use of a guidance change from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that will help with district staffing issues.

Last week, the TEA gave districts the ability to reduce the amount of time a staff member with COVID-19 must quarantine from 10 days to five days.

The COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 4 percent at nearly all WISD campuses.

“If an individual is fever free for 24 hours, and if their symptoms are improving, then we are able to allow those staff members to come back,” Superintendent Jerry Hollingsworth said during Monday's WISD Board of Trustees meeting. “That’s very helpful, and I can tell you just today that was helpful to be able to call those individuals who had been quarantined initially, those who had been on days six through 10 and bring them back.”

That includes substitutes, which Hollingsworth said after the meeting are a big part in filling in the staffing gaps.

“We’re struggling mostly with substitutes, and that’s in line with everyone else,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s a huge strength to get subs in, and to reduce the quarantine time from 10 days to five days will help us tremendously.”

According to district officials, there were 100 staff absences reported, but half of those were able to be filled with substitutes that would previously have only been on days six through 10 of their quarantine.

On a positive note, Hollingsworth said every campus as of Monday was in color code “green,” which means it has fewer than 4 percent positive cases at that campus. He said the only exception was High School of Choice, but he said with the small sample size, it doesn’t take much to go over 4 percent.