FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Across the nation, school systems have been left shorthanded due to positive COVID cases and quarantine mandates. Here in West Virginia, it’s no different for Marion County Public Schools.
In the county, staff shortages started at the end of October to the beginning of November. Marion County Superintendent Donna Hage explained that there were several positions in the school system such as teachers, aides, substitutes and custodians which were not filled daily.
Then, after winter break, the schools continued to see cases spike for staff and students. Hage explained that if 10% of students in a grade test positive for COVID, then they quarantine. Due to that rule, the fifth and seventh grades at East Fairmont Middle School had to quarantine on separate occasions.
“It is a difficult situation, and I tell you it really is a testament to the hard-working employees of Marion County. We are encouraging students and staff to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms; we are encouraging them to get tested,” Hage said. “We monitor all of our students daily and their cases and all of our schools and the attendance and look at those positive cases so that we can do everything that we can to mitigate that spread within our schools.”
To combat the staff shortage, Marion County schools are actively recruiting for several positions such as custodians, bus drivers and teachers.
They also offer two COVID testing options for students and staff if they have been exposed or are feeling symptoms. One is a drive through testing site offered through the Marion County Health Department on Locust Avenue, the other is a mobile clinic at North Marion High School which is offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Marion County BOE also brought in Q Labs to offer their tests at the sites.