KIRBYVILLE, Mo. – Dr. Carless Osbourne, the superintendent for the Kirbyville School District, says just this week four teachers are out sick at the elementary school due to covid-19.

“With covid still being around and the impact of infection on our staff, teachers, and support staff, it’s made it challenging,” said Dr. Osbourne.

To make matters worse, there’s currently a shortage of substitute teachers in the area. With Kirbyville being one of the smaller school districts in Taney County, the administrators are pulling double-duty to keep kids learning inside the classroom.

“If I can step into that role at that moment and help continue to keep things going as normal as possible then that’s what I’m going to do,” said Lara Ernsting, the principal for Kirbyville Elementary.

Ernsting has helped teach classes for the last two days while performing her role as principal.

“It speaks to the group effort that it takes,” said Ernsting. “It takes a village and I am a part of that village and if I can step into that role at that moment and help continue to keep things going as normal as possible, then that’s what I’m going to do. And secretly, it was kind of fun to be in the classroom. It’s been a while and I enjoyed it.”

Ernsting isn’t the only administrator stepping up either. The elementary school counselor is also teaching second graders this week.

“I teach title-1 reading classes in the morning and then I serve as our elementary counselor in the afternoon,” said Jamie Kephart.

“The spirit of Kirbyville is everyone pulling together,” said Dr. Osbourne. “If you see a need, meet that need.”