Thursday, May 19, 2022

As COVID-19 surge continues, 1 in 5 LISD campus staff are out

Lewisville ISD may need to close more campuses because of critical staff shortages caused by the Omicron variant COVID-19 surge.

In a letter to families over the weekend, Interim LISD Superintendent Gary Patterson said that out of about 4,900 campus staff, 1,000 of them are out. The district has already closed five campuses because of staffing issues, and it may need to close more, Patterson said in the letter.

“Our staff shortages are at a critical level,” Patterson said. “We are hopeful we are in a place where numbers will begin to trend down and operations can safely resume. But to be transparent with you, our district is not equipped to operate with such significant staffing absences. If the numbers stay at that high level, or trend even higher, then we will need to take more serious measures, including additional campus and even district closures.”

The district aims to keep closures hyper-local, down to the classroom levels, but complete school closings have been “related to the inability to adequately staff the campus to successfully support student learning.”

“If we reach a critical point in meeting those needs, we may consider closing the district,” Patterson said. “As soon as decisions are made regarding closures, you will hear from us immediately. We understand the impact these decisions have on our families and we don’t take it lightly.”

The Omicron variant is still spreading rapidly through the county. According to Denton County Public Health data, there were more than 35,000 active COVID-19 cases in the county on Friday. Before the Omicron wave, the previous pandemic peak of active cases was 16,346 on Oct. 1. DCPH Director Dr. Matt Richardson said there are some silver linings with the Omicron surge, because while the new variant is highly contagious, patients usually experience less severe symptoms, especially those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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