PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — School districts in the Pittsburgh area continue to battle COVID-19.
Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen said there are five outbreaks and six clusters across the county. The department would not say what districts are impacted, though it said 45 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 this month identify as teachers.READ MORE: White Rhinoceros Calf Born At The Wilds In Ohio
KDKA spoke with Woodland Hills Superintendent James Harris about how COVID-19 is impacting his district.
“We have to be like water. We have to be super flexible, super nimble and try to make the best of it this year,” he said.
Harris said about 15 teachers have gotten COVID-19 at some point this school year. He said earlier this month, Dickson Preparatory STEAM Academy had to close after eight teachers got COVID-19 and the district didn’t have enough subs.
“We’re running really bare-bones right now. It’s all hands on deck,” Harris told KDKA.
He said the substitute teacher pool has been dwindling for almost a decade, and now we are seeing the impact of it. Sometimes, even principals are called upon to teach a class.
Even though Harris said COVID-19 numbers are down this year, it’s still causing issues for students. A surge in numbers has caused Friday’s football game against North Hills to be canceled.
Harris said where students and staff are getting exposed is outside the school buildings. This is echoed by Dr. Bogen.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools To Move To Remote Learning On Election Day
“They also gave a variety of locations of where they were potentially were exposed: school, parties, bars, traveling, others activities, not one particular place,” Dr. Bogen said during here weekly briefing Wednesday.
“They’re socializing, but it impacts their work, their education or school,” Harris said.
In looking at data from Allegheny County, KDKA found other districts reporting staff with COVID-19 in their COVID-19 trackers. Gateway reported five, Pine-Richland reported four and Bethel Park three.
Harris encourages his staff and students to continue practicing CDC guidance at and away from schools.
“We need to stay open. We don’t want to do another shutdown,” he said.
Harris said most of the teachers that tested positive are recovered and back in school.
For students in the district, Dickson is still closed, but that’s because of an HVAC issue.MORE NEWS: Police Confirm Father And Son Found Dead Inside Forward Township Home Both Had COVID-19
As for COVID-19 in districts across the county, Dr. Bogen said any school closures have to come from the district or state level.