Millard Public Schools try to balance COVID-19 safety and teacher workload

We've been covering just how this pandemic is impacting area students, but what about teachers?
Posted at 10:25 PM, Sep 08, 2020

MILLARD, Neb. (KMTV) — Millard Public Schools is reporting just six active COVID-19 cases, with 43 students and staff in quarantine.

The school board looks at these numbers as a win, according to Treasurer Amanda McGill Johnson.

"While I'm very pleased by the lack of spread in our buildings, I know those numbers wouldn't be what they are if it were not for teachers," McGill Johnson said.

MPS Board Vice President Dave Anderson says he is happy the district chose to give families the option of learning in person or remotely, but questions the impact it has on staff.

"I don't know how well that works to the point of keeping kids engaged in front of you at the same time of keeping kids engaged at home, Anderson said.

To help teachers navigate these changes in educating and new stresses, the school district announced at their Tuesday night meeting they would be building in three additional "teacher work" days into the calendar.

The school board also announced all parent teacher conferences will be online this year to prevent teachers from catching the virus,

"Teachers are human," one board member said. "They have family at home. They have responsibilities and they are being stretched out thin."

The district says they cannot afford to have teachers out sick.

With guidance from Douglas County Health Department, MPS is changing guidelines for staff members that come into close contact with someone who has tested positive. These teachers or staff no longer have to quarantine, as long as they are not showing symptoms, wear a mask and social distance.

The school board says they continue to prepare for outbreaks, but are optimistic after nearly a month back in school.

MPS board says they also received $1.6 million in CARES Act money.

They say this will help cover the $2.5 million the district has spent in COVID-19 related expenses.

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