LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– A school in Littleton is closing its doors temporarily after a student and staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The result: more than 100 others at Heritage High school are now being quarantined including 27 staff members, more than one-third of the school’s entire staff.
In an email to Heritage High School families, the school and district stating that the Tri-County Health Department does not consider the two separate cases an outbreak, but because of the impact to staff they no longer have enough staff in the school “to provide adequate supervision and safety for our students.”
The letter goes on to read, Based on the impact of these quarantines on our school community, we felt it was necessary to shift from the current hybrid/ blended learning model to a temporary, all online synchronous remote learning model beginning this Friday, September 4th through September 11 in order to provide all students with the best learning environment.
For Chandra DeSimone and her daughter, who just stared her freshman year at Heritage, it’s not how they wanted to start the school year but say they will adjust.
“She is pretty independent but yeah having to change plans on a whim, I can’t imagine what other parents have to go through,” she said.
The shortage of staff was a concern many had raised when school districts started discussion a return to in person learning.
Amie Baca-Oehlert is the president of the Colorado Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.
“You have to consider how difficult it is to manage it’s not like you have this surplus or this second team that can come in and take over,” she said.
Even pre-pandemic, she says Colorado was dealing with a shortage of teachers and substitute teachers but this has exacerbated the issue.
“It’s difficult to find people who are willing to come in and teach from a safety concern but also from a professional concern,” she said.
While DeSimone says the sudden shift is unfortunate but also understandable at a time when nothing is predictable.
“It’s hard but I know that she’s resilient and she’ll make it through, and knowing they are prepared for the situation, that way she can still have a quality education.