ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — All schools in the Abilene Independent School District (AISD) remain open but officials on Wednesday warned that with hundreds of employees out, the threshold is close.
AISD Superintendent Dr. David Young said on both Monday and Tuesday of this week, more than 300 employees were absent each day. Young added that not all absences stem from COVID-19, saying some could be other illnesses, jury duty or personal days.
Young said that if the decision were made to close a campus, it would be based on not having enough personnel to operate the building.
“What we would have to make a decision on — Do we have enough adults in our buildings to physically open the doors?” said Young. “If we were to close a campus or in worse case scenario, close the entire district, that would be our reason — we did not have the staff to do normal operations.”
Many other local school districts have announced in recent days short term closures due to COVID-19 and other illnesses.
As for the district’s ability to sustain current operations, Young said they are relying on staff members to be versatile.
“We are having some spots where we are having to move staff around, send support from the central office to go be on campus,” Young said. “With the student attendance numbers, we are able to combine some things.”
The latest COVID-19 dashboard from the district showed 400 students with COVID, and 193 staff members.
“They (absences) are certainly the highest numbers,” Young. said “This issue of being pretty close to the line in terms of what it takes from an adult-employee standpoint to operate buildings, we haven’t been that close to that line as we are right now.”Dr. David Young, Abilene ISD Superintendent
As of Wednesday morning, the district said 11 classrooms had been closed, or quarantined. In those situations, “remote conferencing” is being used to continue school.
Click here for the latest COVID-19 numbers from AISD.
Young said he was appreciative of the staff at all levels, helping to keep children in school. He said it was his belief that the best place for children was in schools.
“I want to give a shout out to the employees of AISD that are naking it work on a daily basis and everybody is being flexible,” Young said.
Despite issues like COVID, Young pointed to positive things happening in the district, like fine art student achievements and more.
“There are a lot of great things still happening in Abilene ISD and we can’t just get lost in all of the COVID and the problems,” Young said. “We’re doing our dead-level best on those issues. There are great things happening.”