LPS Says COVID Quarantines Up, Rolls Out Programs to Help Students, Teachers

Oct. 27, 2021, 3 p.m. ·

Lincoln Public Schools superintendent Dr. Steve Joel
Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel at Tuesday's board meeting. (Photo from live stream)

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The state’s second-largest public school district says it’s seen a slight uptick in coronavirus-related quarantines and has implemented several programs to help students and teachers get through them.

More than 400 students and 60 staff members at Lincoln Public Schools have been quarantined so far this week according to the district's COVID dashboard. At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel said the challenges related to the pandemic have been better, but aren’t over yet.

“While our numbers have been fluctuating, a couple of weeks ago, we were pretty optimistic. I think we may have jinxed ourselves. The number of students and staff that were in quarantine has picked up,” Joel said. “The COVID virus is not gone and I know everyone wants it to be gone but we want to keep our schools as safe as possible.”

This week, the district has started a program that provides recorded video lessons for K-5 students who can’t be vaccinated yet and are in quarantine. The program includes two dozen teachers and so far, around 200 students have used the video lessons.

“Hopefully we don’t have to do that in infinity, but certainly it should be a relief to a lot of parents who feel like when their student is out on quarantine, just getting lessons picked up at school really is insufficient,” Joel said.

The district also said teachers who have to cover classes for other teachers who are in quarantine will get a pay increase, from $38 per class to $50 per class. Federal pandemic relief funding will pay for the increase. Joel said the number of substitute teachers available to the district hasn’t changed, but there are more uncovered classes now because of the pandemic and increased teacher quarantines.