NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Middle schoolers in North Little Rock began the semester at home Tuesday.

The North Little Rock School District made a last-minute decision Monday to cancel in-person classes for the 7th and 8th-grade middle school campus.

“What we’re experiencing is a spike in our staff members that are either positive or in quarantine,” NLRSD Superintendent Dr. Gregory Pilewski said.

Dr. Pilewski says the middle school campus is down by about 15 teachers. He says substitute shortages make it difficult to fill slots.

“It’s such a challenge to be able to cover the classroom effectively,” Dr. Pilewski said.

Brandi Greenfield has a seventh-grader in the district. She says she got the call about the switch to virtual learning Monday night.

“She was getting ready to go to bed,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield is a stay-at-home mom and says she didn’t have to switch much of her schedule around. She says the next morning did come with its bumps though.

“She had a Chromebook, she just had to go get it from the school because it was left there over break,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield says she and her daughter were on campus by 8:30 Tuesday morning. She says the pick-up and set-up process still took a few hours.

“She didn’t get started until her third period,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield says it was a chaotic start to the semester.

“I just don’t like seeing her disappointed because she was actually looking forward to going to school,” Greenfield said. “She loves school, and she does better being face to face with a teacher rather than virtual.”

Still, she says she’s thankful the district is taking precautions to keep children safe.

“For health reasons, I’d rather have her home,” Greenfield said.

All other campuses in the North Little Rock School District started normally Tuesday.

District leaders tell us the middle school will be back to in-person learning Thursday.