UNION COUNTY — The Elgin School District has no students or staff out because of COVID-19 but it is feeling the impact of the pandemic.

Elgin High School and Stella Mayfield Elementary School each had 30 students absent on Wednesday Jan. 12, a number Elgin School District Superintendent Dianne Greif attributes to students being encouraged not to come to school if they are not feeling well as part of COVID-19 safety protocols.

School staff members in Elgin, and throughout Union County, are also being encouraged not to come to school if they are not feeling well. Greif said more substitute teachers are needed and the demand is greater than the number of substitutes available.

“There is a county-wide substitute teacher shortage," she said.

Elgin High School had four teachers out on Jan.12 for various reasons including sickness. Substitutes could not be found to fill in for all of the periods the absent teachers instruct, leaving Greif having to teach two periods. Greif, a former teacher, welcomed the chance to return to the classroom.

“It was a nice break," she said.

The Imbler School District has three students out due to COVID-19. One is a student who tested positive for the virus and the other two are the student’s siblings who are being quarantined because of close contact with their family member, according to Imbler School District Superintendent Doug Hislop.

Hislop credits his districts’ low COVID-19 numbers to how hard parents, students and staff are working to follow safety protocols.

The Union School District has had a total of six students and staff quarantined over the past month because of possible COVD-19 symptoms. Union School District Superintendent Carter Wells said he feels good about his district’s COVID-19 situation.

“We are very fortunate," he said.

The Cove School District has two students out due to COVID-19. One student was out due to a close contact and another because of COVID-19 symptoms.

Attendance in the school district in January is 94%, an indication of good overall health among students, according to Cove School District Superintendent Earl Pettit, who added Cove’s attendance rate is higher than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The North Powder School District has five students and one teacher in quarantine because of COVID-19 after extensive testing was done.

The teacher is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 and the students are in quarantine because they either tested positive or had a close contact, according to Lance Dixon, superintendent of the North Powder School District.

Dixon said he feared that his school district’s COVID-19 situation would be a lot worse before the testing was done.

“I was worried because there is a lot of COVID in the community," he said.

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