PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – Palestine High School is closing its doors until Jan. 24.

This is an effort to stop the spread of the omicron variant. Due to quarantine, 20 high school staff members were absent on Tuesday, and the number only continued to grow. This led district officials to make this decision.

Larissa Lovelace works at Palestine ISD.

“We’ve not been able to hold class because of the large number of teachers out,” she said.

Palestine ISD has been using substitute teachers to try and keep children in the classroom but is now unable to keep up with demand at the high school.

“We have a large pool of substitutes, but those substitutes get ill as well so that pool is not as deep as it usually is,” said Lovelace.

The school district said they are doing what they can to ensure their students have the academic materials they need as they prepare to move to online classes.

“What we realized we could do is we could pull some of the staff members by shutting down campus,” said Lovelace. “We could pull some of the auxiliary staff members, send those to the younger campuses and keep those campuses open where those children need so much instruction and the face to face.”

The high school will not be shutting down entirely during these two days.

“Even though our school is shut down, our staff is still on campus,” said Lovelace. “We have our extracurricular activities continuing, and then we have some of our CTE students who are working on projects. They are continuing to come to the school and work on those hands-on projects with those staff members, so when we say we have shut down the high school, it’s not 100%.”

According to Palestine ISD, breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided to any high school student who wants or needs them during the virtual school days.