LPS cancels classes for the next three Fridays in response to the rising COVID cases

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) –  With the recent exponential rise in cases, Lincoln Public Schools is implementing new strategies to combat the staffing shortage and to address a large number of students missing school.

LPS reported a total of 924 positive COVID-19 cases so far this week, breaking their weekly record for positive COVID cases throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

According to LPS, 41 percent of classes could not be covered by substitute teachers while LPS staff were out sick or in isolation.

“The recent rapid rise of COVID-19 cases has created a significant crisis. We have a large number of students who are missing classes due to illness, and they are struggling to make up that missed instruction,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “Another key issue for us continues to be ensuring we have sufficient staff in our schools to continue safely serving all students every single day. We need to think outside the box and look at all of our options.”

For the next three weeks, LPS will be implementing COVID Response Fridays.  Classes will be canceled for students starting with Jan. 21, 2022.

The only exception is for The Career Academy classes that will be in session in consideration of dual credit instructional hour requirements and scheduling limitations.

Using district-wide COVID Response Fridays will aid students who are home due to illness as they will be able to receive staff support virtually on work they have missed. This will also allow staff to recoup valuable planning and work time lost to covering extra classes Monday through Thursday.

Other strategies announced by LPS include:

  • Planning for temporary classroom, program, or school to move to remote learning if necessary: LPS will be able to temporarily move any K-12 classrooms, whole grade levels, or entire school buildings to 100% remote learning if it is determined there are not sufficient staff available to safely operate. This is not something that will be used district-wide, only on a case-by-case basis. Students in quarantine will not be able to remote into in-person classrooms – only if the entire class is remote. Students and families can access this website for resources to assist them while their child is quarantining.
  • Proactive remote learning preparation for K-12 students: In the event, we do have to temporarily move a classroom, program, or school to remote learning, we will be holding teacher-led practice sessions for K-12 students over the next week. This will give teachers and students the confidence to switch from in-person to remote if needed.

LPS buildings will remain open on these days and staff will be working. Elementary and before and after school programs (CLCs) and middle school extracurricular activities and after-school programs (CLCs) will be closed. High school student extracurricular activities and athletic practices and events will continue as scheduled. High school CLCs will be closed. COVID Response Fridays will be on Jan. 21,  Jan. 28, and Feb. 4.

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