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Nathan Hale Elementary closed Friday due to staffing shortage

Staffers 'nervous' about COVID-19
Classroom generic
Posted at 11:54 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 19:49:21-04

CLEVELAND — Classes were canceled Friday for students at Nathan Hale Elementary School due to a staffing shortage.

Nathan Hale Elementary is a pre-K through 8th-grade school that is part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

According to district officials, the school was closed after a "significant number of staff called out." Remote learning classes were also canceled. The district said some staffers were nervous about COVID-19.

The school issued the following statement:

"We closed Nathan Hale today after a significant number of school staff called off sick this morning. While we understand that people are nervous about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in our community, CMSD has and will continue to take every precaution to ensure that our schools are one of the safest places our students and adults can be in our community during this time. It is unfortunate that our students weren’t able to be in school today, but we fully expect to return to normal service on Monday."

Earlier this week, the school listed a COVID-19 alert on its homepage that said the building will be cleaned nightly due to a positive coronavirus case that was reported. A look at the district dashboard shows 14 cases of COVID-19 at the school with 4 new cases reported in the last week.

Nathan Hale Elementary COVID Alert

Yesterday, the CMSD released a statement about the death of an unnamed Nathan Hale staff member. The cause of death was not given.

A Facebook post from CMSD went up on the district page around 6:45 a.m. But it wasn't enough time for some families to get the message that school was closed.

Joan Broom Jones said her grandchild arrived at the school for breakfast just before 8 a.m. and that is when they found out the teachers weren't there and classes wouldn't be happening.

"It was the right decision, but they should have given a warning," Jones said.

Jones' family was able to adapt to the change but knows it's not easy for every family.

"It hasn't been bad. She was on her tablet learning a little something," Jones said.

A source at Nathan Hale said, as of 4 p.m. on Friday, teachers planned on being back in the classroom on Monday.

No one from CMSD would go on camera with News 5 but the district sent a statement with a list of the cleaning procedures that happen at Nathan Hale. It said the school was cleaned with a fogging sanitizer Thursday night and will be cleaned again over the weekend "even though it was empty today."

CMSD's response to COVID-19

Here are the measures CMSD uses districtwide for COVID safety:

  • Mask requirement for all students and adults in any district school, office, or facility regardless of vaccination status
  • Temperature check upon entry to every district school
  • Care clinics staffed with a full-time health professional at each school
  • Providing sanitation gel, sanitation wipes, and other PPE in every classroom and office
  • Maintaining 3 feet social distancing wherever possible
  • Displaying random digital pop-up reminders on all staff computers daily
  • Fogging each classroom and office with sanitation mist daily and misting each bus at the conclusion of each run
  • Bringing custodians in 2 hours early each day to perform a fresh-air ventilation flush before school begins
  • Running portable air sanitizing units in classrooms and offices of any building that does not have a modernized HVAC system and in band and choir rooms of HVAC buildings
  • Using high-grade air filters in HVAC buildings
  • Providing access to and information about vaccination clinics for students, parents/caregivers, and employees
  • Providing random, voluntary weekly COVID testing opportunities for students and staff in all schools

Because COVID is airborne, our protocols direct our cleaners to pull trash and sanitize rooms before mopping floors, etc. If we’re short staffed, it is possible that floors aren’t mopped or vacuumed every night. Again, the focus is on airborne sanitation.

Also, every classroom is provided with hand sanitation gel and wipes, and students and adults are expected to wipe down their work areas daily as well.

The last time the Nathan Hale building was cleaned was last night, like always. And, as always, we used the fogging sanitizer process.

The custodian came in two hours early this morning (like every day) to complete the fresh air exchange process. Nathan Hale staff raised concerns about sanitation safety earlier in the week so we even sent EXTRA CREWS to that building to assure them that the building was indeed being addressed.

The building is going to be sanitized again over the weekend even though it was empty all day today.

Finally, Nathan Hale and all our schools have a safety team composed of the principal, union chair and custodian to identify and solve COVID-related problems.

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