OTTUMWA — Continued staff shortages in the Ottumwa Community School District has led to the decision to switch to virtual instruction for all students Nov. 23-24.

With the start of Thanksgiving break on Nov. 25, this shift will close the district buildings for 10 days, allowing maintenance staff to do a deep cleaning of all the buildings. It also provides an opportunity to decrease COVID-19-related absences after the break, the district said.

In a notice from the district, the number of staff in quarantine continues to rise, making daily staffing a challenge in several buildings. “Staff shortages make it difficult for our schools to provide a quality educational environment in which to learn,” the statement reads.

In addition, the district says the temporary switch to virtual instruction “will allow teachers to practice and refine their teaching skills in the event of future shifts to virtual instruction.”

Attendance is required, and students who do not participate will be counted absent. Families will receive additional communication from their teachers or schools regarding student expectations during the shift. The district also stated the food service team is working to put together a plan to provide breakfast and lunch to all students PK-12, and more details will be available at a later date.

The shift does not impact students enrolled in Bulldog Virtual Learning.

More information is available in the COVID Update Center at www.ottumwaschools.com, or you may contact your school to address any questions.

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