On January 19, 2022

Covid outbreaks force schools to close

Staff report

Some local schools are so short of staff due to the Covid outbreak they temporarily closed. Several schools in the Orange East Supervisory Union closed the week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Oxbow High School in Bradford was closed Monday, Jan. 10-12 and reopened on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Bradford, Newbury, River Bend, and Thetford Elementary School closed Jan. 11-12 and Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River closed Tuesday, Jan. 11-14.

“Our closure was prompted by 103 staff being out for Wednesday of last week — this is 25% of our staff,” Orange East Supervisory Union Superintendent Emilie Knisely said.

All schools were back open on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Knisely said the district would apply for a waiver so it wouldn’t have to make up the days it was closed.

Springfield schools also had significant staff shortages. So many staff were out needing to quarantine that Springfield School District closed Riverside Middle School and Elm Hill School on Jan. 14.

“There are just too many staff out in key positions to be able to open safely,” Springfield Schools Superintendent Zach McLauhglin said on Facebook. “Covid continues to hit us hard.”

The closures come at a time Covid-19 cases are hitting recording numbers. A total of 115 patients were hospitalized due to Covid on Monday, Jan. 17 — a new record, according to numbers from the Vermont Department of Health.

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