By Beth Germano

HOLLISTON (CBS) — As students head back into the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic, Massachusetts schools say they need extra help keeping tabs on all of them. Adults, aides, or volunteers would supervise classrooms, hallways, and buses to make sure safety protocols are followed.

In Newton, it’s the difference between extending the day for elementary students or not.

“There’s a great need for adults in buildings right now,” said Newton Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman. “We’re talking about mask breaks, for example, we’re talking about social distancing. I think adults are more hesitant to leave students alone.”

In Holliston, an email went out asking for volunteers to commit to five days a week. The lack of support staff created a last-minute push to all-remote learning for the high school for at least two more weeks. They hope to return Sept. 29.

“People that can help with disinfecting, that can help with bathroom monitoring, we don’t want extra kids in the bathrooms together, we want to make sure kids are spaced out in the hallway,” Holliston Superintendent of Schools Susan Kustka said.

Like many families, the Morrisseys with third-grader Owen said it’s been stressful trying to pivot at the last minute.

“I would volunteer but they need five days a week and it’s hard for most families to give up in-person five days a week to go in and help, but it makes sense from a safety standpoint,” said Sarah Morrissey.

School officials said with more teachers Zooming as they hold classes or teaching remotely, it reduces the number of adult eyes in the buildings even further. And the reality is, school districts are competing for the same help.

“We’re all competing for the same staff and it’s sometimes we’ve had someone set to move on hiring and the next day we find out that they took a job somewhere else, even though they committed to us,” said Kustka.

Beth Germano

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