EASTPOINTE, Mich. – A staff shortage had Eastpointe Middle School turning to virtual learning last week, but the students have since been able to return to the classroom.
There are concerns about the impact of staff shortages, not just in Eastpointe Community Schools, but in districts across Michigan.
“Are kids gonna be cheated out of their education?” Sandra McCray said.
McCray’s 7th-grade son, Darrion McCray, was back in the classroom on Monday but he also has concerns about the school year.
“They’re trying to replace the teachers, but still not enough teachers for all the periods,” Darrion McCray said.
Sandra McCray said the school is overcrowded.
“How can you social distance? How can you prevent COVID from spreading if we have too many students and not enough teachers?” McCray said.
Last week 6th and 7th-grade students went virtual after several teachers resigned. It’s an issue many districts are facing -- a severe staff shortage, few applicants, and not enough substitute teachers.
“It’s a huge challenge to find teachers and all school staff. Many vacancies and any school district is going to say the same thing,” Eastpointe schools communication and marketing coordinator Caitlyn Kienitz said.
When fully staffed, Eastpointe Middle School has 20 teachers for its 360 students.
Last week the district was able to hire three new teachers and bring students back into the classroom.
“I think we all kind of came into this year knowing whether it was for a quarantine closure or staffing closure that any district is going to have a plan in place to go virtual,” Kienitz said.
Some districts are raising salaries, trying to lure qualified teachers back into the classroom, but the COVID-19 relief funds are temporary.