FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — While students have returned to classrooms from winter break, Forsyth County Schools faces staffing shortages that could force school closings.
The latest COVID-19 surge has contributed to 20 openings for cafeteria workers and the same number of custodians, said Jennifer Caracciolo, director of Communications for the district. The openings in food service began last June. Openings for custodial workers began two months later.
The district has not indicated it has a bus driver shortage. Caracciolo said the district was only short five drivers when students resumed face-to-face instruction Jan. 10, which led to some isolated transportation delays.
Forsyth County Schools reported .39% active COVID-19 cases in students Jan. 12 and .54% in staff. The schools reporting the highest numbers are Forsyth Central High School with 22 active cases and Lambert High School with 26 new cases.
Superintendent Jeff Bearden said Jan. 7 that all 41 Forsyth County schools would remain open second semester as long as the district can staff them. Otherwise, schools will switch to virtual learning.
“I hope that COVID cases begin to decline this month as rapidly as they increased,” Bearden said. “Just as we did during [first] semester, we will return to normal operations once our local data shows that it is safe to do so. … Thank you all for your patience and understanding. Students need to be in school and we want them to be in school.”
The district is not requiring face masks but encourages all students and staff to wear them while indoors and to social distance when feasible. Sick or symptomatic students are asked to stay home.