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'Safety of our staff and students is our top concern': Southern Indiana school district goes virtual after uptick in COVID cases

Borden-Henryville Schools said its had staffing shortages and hopes this break will help stop the spread.

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. — A southern Indiana school district also held it's first day of non-traditional instruction (NTI) Tuesday.

Borden-Henryville Schools said its had staffing shortages and hopes this break will help stop the spread.

"Safety of our students and staff is our top concern,” Lisa Gardner, Director of Curriculum and Instruction with Borden-Henryville Schools, said. "The constant watch of the numbers gave us great cause for concern as well as operational issues."

Gardner said last week, nearly 20% of students were absent between both campuses. This week, she said several staff members were out, making it very difficult to operate.

"We weren't able to cover classes even with administrators present,” Gardner said.

Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said he doesn't think Borden-Henryville will be alone in virtual learning for long.

"I think a lot of schools are experiencing those same challenges,” Yazel said. “We're just seeing a high rate of community spread - some of the highest we've seen throughout the pandemic."

According to Indiana State Department of Health, Clark County, where the Borden-Henryville district is located, is in the red. The site reports there were 152 new positive cases Monday. Its positivity rate is more than 25%, based on a 7-day rate from December 29, 2021 to January 4, 2022.

Additionally, the site reports there were 5 new deaths between January 8 and 9.

"When we see these kinds of numbers it really is a challenge to a lot of different things - small businesses, our bigger companies, schools, hospitals, ya know everybody is experiencing this,” Yazel said.

Both Yazel and Gardner have kids in Borden-Henryville.

"As a parent, it can be very anxiety inducing, Gardner said. She adds that the district has become skilled at quickly adapting to virtual learning and giving every kid the attention they need.

"It's a challenge,” Yazel said. “That's what I always tell people. I get it when people get frustrated about going virtual. I'm right there with you."

He says it’s frustrating, but necessary, and suggests everyone gets vaccinated.

Gardner said the schools plan to start back in person on January 18, but that date can, and will, be pushed back if the district has the same staffing shortages next week.

► Contact reporter Bobbi McSwine at BMcSwine@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter  

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