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LCO School Superintendent Says More Than Covid Contributing to Staff Shortages

By Joe Morey, News Editor

and Lonnie Barber, Contributor

LCO Ojibwe School Superintendent Jessica “Hutch” Hutchison told LCO News on Feb. 3 that the school is currently dealing with staffing shortages and only about half are due to Covid-19.


“It’s something we are dealing with like most school districts all across the country,” Hutch said. “We are experiencing fewer people returning to school because of Covid fatigue, but our issues are not all Covid related. It’s probably about 50% of our shortage. But, it’s sometimes it’s not the direct cause. A staff member may have it or they may have a child at home they need to stay and take care of.”


Hutch went on to explain that it’s also due to child care. She said when the LCO Daycare has an outbreak and has to close, it affects their staff because they have to stay home with a child whether they are sick or not. She added this is most likely a tribal-wide problem.


“About 25% of our staffing shortages is due to bereavement leave with the funerals that have been happening. There has been so much loss in our community,” Hutch stated. “Everyone is dealing with this and it seems to be never ending.”


Hutch said there are also a lot of life situations our teachers are dealing with, for example, taking kids to doctor appointments.


“We’re trying to do the best that we can to make sure we provide academic expectations and excellence for our students and have them in school every day without burning out the staff we do have,” Hutch said.


Hutch went on to say, “Every single day I’m extremely proud and impressed with our staff for how hard they are working and the things they are creatively overcoming.”