JCPS return to NTI, increase in COVID cases impacting local business – WDRB

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Updated: January 12, 2022 @ 5:43 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Jefferson County Public Schools’ switch to NTI certainly impacts teachers and students, but it also affects those beyond school walls.
“If you’re going to be a business owner, you’re definitely going to have to roll with these types of punches,” said Troy King, who owns Six Forks Burger Co. and Fry Daddy’s.
The Brownsboro Road Fry Daddy’s was supposed to have a grand re-opening this week, but between one employee having COVID-19 and two others having to stay home with their kids for NTI, that’s being postponed.
“I really feel for the one-parent households,” King said. “Where it’s really getting to the point where ‘Can I go out and make a living, or do I need to stay home with my children and educate them?'” 
Meanwhile, he and his staff are constantly adjusting to get shifts covered.
“My wife’s at home, I’m in the kitchen, and our other employees are double- and triple-shifting,” King said.
His story isn’t uncommon.
“For a lot of these businesses that can’t operate remotely, it is causing an additional strain on already short staffing, and it’s made some have to temporarily close or reduce their hours because of this,” said Shelby Somervell, vice president of Government Affairs and Communications with Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI)
Somervell said when school districts make these changes, it has a ripple effect on the economy.
“This is an example of why we need reliable and stable and affordable childcare, because that’s how we can get people back into the workforce,” Somervell said. 
She said GLI is advocating for that at the state level, and other businesses are considering changes of their own.
“We’ve heard a lot of businesses that are actually interested in opening onsite child care centers to use that as an incentive for employees and also help with a workforce shortage,” Somervell said.
Though that idea isn’t feasible for all employers, King believes the one common trait of any business surviving right now is the ability to adapt.
“Every day, you wake up in something different and you just got to put yourself in the mindset to be able to adapt and overcome,” King said.
JCPS switched to NTI because of staffing shortages due to an escalation of COVID-19 cases. The district hopes to go back to in-person learning Jan. 18.
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