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Coronavirus in Schuylkill County

Gillingham Charter School in Pottsville Switching to Virtual Classes Amid “Omicron” Outbreak

Positive tests and quarantines among teachers have left the school short-staffed since returning from Christmas break.

Students attending Gillingham Charter School in Pottsville will be attending class virtually for the next 6 school days. The school is dealing with staffing shortages amid the “Omicron” variant COVID outbreak in Schuylkill County.

On Tuesday, Gillingham administration sent a notice to parents indicating the school would be doing virtual-only classes starting Jan. 13. And this virtual-only class time would extend through next week with a planned return to in-person classes on Jan. 24. Gillingham is closed on Jan. 17 to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In that notice to parents, the school administration says, “We are seeing an increase in COVID cases in our school community. Even with the vaccination and booster, more and more of us are getting sick with COVID.”

The school says 20% of teachers and staff have tested positive for or been forced to quarantine because of COVID since returning from the Christmas break.

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“This is putting a huge strain on all of us in so many ways. Most days it’s incredibly difficult for our staff to cover everyone who is out sick or quarantining, especially since there’s a nationwide shortage of substitute teachers,” the notice reads.

They say an internal survey of school staff found a “high majority” of them would approve of a switch to remote learning.

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