Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

LISD schools to close until Jan. 31

Courtesy of LISD
LISD Interim superintendent Gary Patterson released an update to parents about the school closure.

Last night, interim LISD Superintendent Gary Patterson sent an email to parents and students, stating that all LISD schools will be closed from Wednesday Jan. 26 to Friday Jan 28. Patterson cited the low number of staff members and substitute teachers as the reason.

“We do not have enough staff members to cover the expected staff absences, despite our best efforts to find substitutes and coverage for classes,” Patterson stated. “The numbers simply are not in our favor.”

There will also be no virtual classes during the close because of the number of teachers who are ill and cannot instruct students. According to Principal Will Skelton, the district may apply for a waiver or use bad weather days to compensate for the missed class time.

“It’s a challenge for our teachers, because they have to then go and reconfigure their scope and sequence and figure out how they’re going to cover the content in a compressed amount of time,” Skelton said.

The email also stated that high school extracurriculars such as sports and fine arts would continue. However, it allowed each school to decide the students’ degree of involvement. According to Skelton, each Marcus coach or fine arts director can decide whether they want to hold practices. However, out-of-school events such as games, UIL competitions and the upcoming musical are not cancelled because they aren’t impacted by the teacher shortage.

Due to the large number of absences in her classes, orchestra director Allison Washler chose to cancel Wednesday through Friday’s orchestra rehearsals.

“With UIL right around the corner it is painful for me to give up these rehearsals, but I think it is truly not in the best interest of the ensemble to try to force something with a small percentage of students,” Washler said in an email to orchestra families.

Six percent of the approximately 4,900 LISD staff members are COVID positive according to the district case tracker, but many others are missing because they are quarantining or sick with another illness. On Friday, the number of district wide staff absences peaked at 1,048 — over 20 percent of the staff.

Skelton said that combined with the district’s shortage of substitute teachers, the amount of teachers absent made another day of in-person school physically impossible.

“No one here at the district level would ever want to close down schools,” Skelton said. “But it just reached that tipping point where at the district level, they had to make that decision.”

Junior Makayla Dudley said that between student and staff absences, she understands why the district shut down the schools.

“A third of one of my classes was out for the whole of last week,” Dudley said. “And one of my classes didn’t have enough subs, so I had to go to the library… there has been a lot.”

Dudley also said she believed that closing classes entirely would be more efficient for teachers.

“I can’t imagine having a bunch of your students missing, having to catch them up, and having all of that,” Dudley said.

According to Skelton, the district is not currently considering extending the closure. 

“Next week, I think [the district] is going to balance it, depending on how many staff we expect to have out on Monday,” Skelton said. “But we are, as of right now, set to be in school again on Monday.”

At the end of his email, Patterson promised to keep LISD families updated on any new decisions.

Find LISD’s resources and COVID response plans here.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Muna Nnamani
Muna Nnamani, Managing Editor
Muna Nnamani (she/her) is a senior and a third year staffer. She’s super excited for this year’s staff, because they’re all pretty decent people. Outside the paper, her one hobby is listening to the same three songs on repeat and thinking about her feelings. She gets five hours of sleep on a good night, but she’s still thriving.

Comments (0)

All The Marquee Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *