Suffield’s middle, high schools seeing teacher shortages due to COVID-19 case uptick


SUFFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Suffield High School and Suffield Middle School are temporarily switching to distance learning due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases within the school district.

Just in the past three days, Suffield Public Schools confirmed six COVID-19 cases. Three of them from the high school, two from the middle school, and one from an elementary school.

That has resulted in 36 teachers having to quarantine: 22 faculty members at the high school and 14 at the middle school. The superintendent told News 8 they are experiencing a teacher shortage and are having a hard time finding substitute teachers.

Officials said 150 students are in quarantine as well.

Now, the two schools are moving to remote learning, but not at the same time. The middle school and high school plan to share staff between schools while one school is distance learning.

“The reason for doing it is because we want to provide some degree of in-person learning to both of these schools over the next 14-day quarantine period,” Superintendent of Schools Timothy Van Tasel told News 8. “We also have to make sure that it’s effective in preventing the spread of the virus throughout the district.”

The high school will move to distance learning from Thursday, Oct. 22 until Oct. 27. They will return to in-person hybrid learning on Oct. 28.

For the middle school, they will move to distance learning from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2.

Ideally, the district would get both schools back to in-person hybrid after the quarantine.

“I know they’re doing the best they can, so I’m glad that we at least…we have the option to go in school,” said fourth-grader, Clare Conway.

“I was nervous when I got the phone call from the superintendent last night, and I took a deep sigh of relief when I heard it wasn’t’ affecting McAlister,” said parent, Stacey Munro. “But, I do have compassion for the parents who have kids in the middle and high schools.”

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