California School District Asks Parents To Help With Janitorial Duties Due To Staff Shortage

As the Omicron variant of the coronavirus leads to staff shortages across the country, one school district is asking parents to volunteer to help with custody and rights of Covid testing.

The highly transmissible variant has spread rapidly across the United States, infecting millions of people over the past month. The growing number of cases has forced many schools to close to revert to distance learning and left those that have remained open with a shortage of staff.

But Palo Alto Unified District School — located in Silicon Valley, California — has the choice to look to parents to help keep their schools open.

As part of the “1 Palo Alto” ​​campaign, parents also help with classroom support, housing service, attendance and ensuring that classrooms are clean so that students can continue learning in person.

In a video message to parents, Palo Alto Superintendent Don Austin pitched the program as a way to ensure schools have enough staff to stay open to students amid the surge in cases.

“We need help in areas that a lot of people don’t even know exists,” he said. “It won’t be glamorous – many of the essential jobs that happen every day to support your children are not glamorous.”

Austin said News week in an interview on Tuesday afternoon, the deputy superintendent came up with the idea on Saturday morning. School district staff quickly began working that day with school principals, union leaders, and PTA members to determine how best to implement it. They announced the campaign just after 9 p.m. Sunday and quickly received a positive response from the community.

On Tuesday, less than 48 hours later, around 670 parents volunteered, he said. They will start in schools on Wednesday.

Austin said the parents’ quick response is “a reminder that people stand up when asked, and critics can become partners overnight if allowed.”

“What we can do now is something that almost no school district in the country can do,” he said. “I can look into any camera and say, ‘Our schools will be open. Full stop. We’ve covered it. Our community has been through this.'”

In any given year, the district averages about 40 teacher absences per day. But in the latest wave of coronavirus cases, the district is seeing about double the number every day, according to Austin.

He said the campaign will allow the school district to prepare for any further increase in the virus. He said: “The last thing we want to do is get caught off guard and face closures.”

He encouraged other districts to find creative ways to keep schools open amid the pandemic.

“Before people wave the white flag and go back to closures, they have to exhaust everything possible. And most people, when they think they’ve exhausted anything, haven’t done so,” he said. -he declares.

A school district has turned to parents for help amid staff shortages related to Omicron. Above, a classroom is seen in New York City in November 2021.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Palo Alto, like the rest of the United States, has seen coronavirus cases soar since December. His Santa Clara County home recorded a daily average of 3,589 new cases per day on Sunday, up from around 207 a month earlier, according to data from the county’s public health department.

The United States reported a 7-day average of 750,996 new cases per day on Monday, up from 119,040 a week earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Schools across the United States continue to wonder how to respond to the growing number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

A Minnesota high school facing a shortage of babysitters hired its own students to help with babysitting duties. Their students were paid $ 15.30 an hour and worked about two hours after school.

Other schools have been forced to extend their vacations or switch to distance education. Schools in several major cities, including Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland, switched to online learning in early January. Meanwhile, in Chicago, city officials and teachers clashed over whether or not in-person learning should resume amid the surge in cases. They reached an agreement to reopen schools on Monday.

Updated 1/11/2022 at 3:22 PM ET with an interview with Superintendent Don Austin and to include new statistics from the Santa Clara Department of Health and CDC.

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