Panhandle schools closing down due to high number of COVID-19 cases

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Due to high numbers of COVID-19 in the Texas Panhandle area, some area schools have had to close.

“We’re having increasing numbers everyday with kids testing positive,” said Jay Lamb, Groomer superintendent.

Lamb shares that was one factor why the district decided to close it’s operations to recover from the high number of COVID-19 cases.

Other Panhandle school districts that have closed this week include Wheeler, McLean, and Plemmons-Stinnett-Phillips CISD.

Tomorrow, Bushland ISD will be closing its doors as well.

Other factors the schools had to consider were the number of absences and the shortage in substitute teachers.

McLean High School principal, Johnny James shares that the district serves 180 students, but 42 were absent on Wednesday.

“We’re out of subs, we’re out of teachers. we were going to have to combine classes,” said James. “We just don’t have a lot of bodies to put in the classroom.”

Out of the 17 teachers in Groom ISD, nearly a quarter of them are unable to work.

Serving 145 students, over 20 students were reported absent this week.

The school district says this jump in absences were too big for the school to ignore.

“We’re not worried necessarily about counting attendance, we just try to keep our kids caught up,” said Superintendent Lamb. “But the online variant just is not nearly as effective as having them in house.”

A majority of the schools I have spoken with are using snow days to make up the time lost.

Each school district will deep clean its facilities while students are away and encourage social distancing.

If the schools face more closures, they’ll have to consider taking away school holidays to ensure students are caught up in their studies.

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