SOUTHERN INDIANA — Kyle Lanoue has served for the past year as the career and technical education director at Prosser Career Education Center, but recently, he filled in for several days at S. Ellen Jones Elementary in New Albany, where he previously worked as principal.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, he assisted in a number of ways, including performing administrative roles at the school, helping out with lunch duty, covering classes, answering phones and stepping in when an extra set of hands were needed.

Lanoue is one of many staff members in New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. to take on extra duties as the high level of COVID-19 spread in the community leads to staffing shortages. These duties include ones employees “may not normally do but are needed right now,” he said.

“I think across the district right now, everyone is willing to do whatever we can to help out to ensure that in-person learning continues the best it possibly can,” he said.

NAFCS Superintendent Brad Snyder said the school district is facing an “all hands on deck situation” in terms of staffing.

“We are doing everything we can to keep school open,” he said. “Some employees are performing duties out of their normally assigned position as situations change on a day-to-day basis.”

Schools across Southern Indiana are struggling with staffing shortages related to COVID-19. With the exception of eLearning days due to inclement weather, NAFCS has remained in-person so far this school year. However, districts across the area have been forced to go to remote learning.

Greater Clark County Schools and Clarksville Community Schools transitioned to periods of eLearning last week, as well as individual schools such as Silver Creek Middle School, Silver Creek High School, Henryville Elementary and Henryville Jr./Sr. High School.

Lanoue said teachers, administration and support staff in schools are “really answering the call” right now and “working difficult, long hours” to keep school operations going during the pandemic.

Last week, he called upon his experience of working for more than a decade as a building-level administrator in NAFCS as he covered for staff at S. Ellen Jones. He has since returned to his usual duties as a Prosser administrator.

“We have long been a professional learning community, and we believe deeply in collaboration,” Lanoue said. “I think any good leader looks to know the job and the role next to you the best as possible. These are my colleagues and friends.”

NAFCS teachers are helping cover for other classrooms, and administrators in the transportation department are taking on bus routes when drivers are out, he said.

Lanoue said in-person learning is important for addressing students’ learning gaps and helping the most vulnerable elementary school students, including those at Title I schools like S. Ellen Jones. He wants to make sure learning continues at a high level while also “remaining vigilant with safety.”

“For students who possibly already had learning gaps, to be away from the building is incredibly difficult,” he said.

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