MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Madison County Schools went back to virtual learning on Friday. Students will remain virtual until January 31st.

In a Facebook post, Madison County Schools cited “a high number of COVID positive cases among its staff”.

Madison County Schools Superintendent Allen Perkins said the shortage, “Is hampering our ability to operate schools safely and effectively.”

Madison County Schools was unavailable to comment further on the situation on Friday. We also reached out to Alabama Education Association District 3 Director, Beverly Sims, who said the shortage of teachers and staff due to COVID-19 is having an impact on an already hard situation.

Sims said it can be tricky for schools to manage when so many teachers are out sick.

“You have to start playing dominoes and then you have to put one person here and one person there. Teachers are covering for maybe half a class, or a whole class because once you get so many out, you don’t even have enough staff to cover for half classes,” she said.

Sims also said teachers and staff members are trying to do their best to keep students safe and healthy. She added the pandemic has been hard on staff, and she worries about their mental health.

“Our employees are needing help. Emotional and maybe professional mental help just to try and get through this because it is really taking its toll,” Sims said.