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St. Johns County teacher shares his classroom experience with COVID

Tim Duncan is a fifth grade teacher at Palencia Elementary School. He says case numbers have been low at Palencia, but staff shortages have been problematic.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — It's been a long winter for Palencia Elementary teacher, Tim Duncan.

"Before Christmas break I was leaving at 4:30, 5 p.m. most nights. After Christmas I decided I was going to leave closer to 3:30, 5 so I could help my kids out," Duncan, a fifth grade math and science teacher, said. 

Duncan says his school has managed COVID case numbers well, but they've still felt the ripple effects of the pandemic.

As of Friday, the St. Johns County School District reported six Palencia staff members have tested positive, including one in quarantine. That's roughly eight percent of the school's staff.

"Getting subs has been a bit of an issue. We were supposed to kind of get a day planning the other day and we didn't have enough subs to cover that and we kind of had to reschedule and hope we can get back to that another time," Duncan said.

Duncan said his students have rolled with the challenges of the pandemic, but added his job is far from done when he shuts off his classroom lights and heads home.

"My two boys, I got one in third grade and one in seventh grade, and they've been struggling a lot ... without us being able to help out with the homework as much and then doing the other things we do scouts and such. It's been a struggle," Duncan said.