SEATTLE (NewsNation Now) — Severe staffing shortages have forced some school districts across the country to close their doors Friday.
In the Seattle and Bellevue districts, the sudden four-day weekend impacts nearly 75,000 public school kids.
“We are aware of an unusually large number of SPS staff taking leave on Friday, and do not believe we have adequate personnel to open schools with the necessary environment for high-quality learning,” a notice posted Tuesday on the Seattle district’s website said.
On the same day, the Bellevue School District, near the Seattle area, said on its website that schools will be closed Friday because of staffing shortages, anticipated inclement weather and COVID-19 restrictions.
“Some of the creative solutions we have provided in the past with staff shortages, will not work with the COVID-19 restrictions. For example, combining classes is not an option at this time,” the announcement said.
Both Washington school districts already have a make-up dates scheduled.
Some Denver area schools are also canceling classes this week or switching to remote learning because of staffing shortages.
Schools in the Adams 14, Boulder Valley and Adams 12 Five Star districts will be closed Thursday for Veterans Day and will remain closed Friday because they cannot find enough substitute teachers and other staff, The Denver Post reported.
In Denver, one high school switched to remote learning starting Wednesday, warning that online classes could be extended. Students at two other Denver Public Schools sites will also have remote classes Thursday and Friday.
Denver used to have about 1,200 substitutes to tap, but that pool is now less than 400. Administrators say getting them to fill in on a Friday after a holiday is a hard ask even when there is no labor shortage.
Schools have also had trouble hiring enough nurses and bus drivers, in addition to substitute teachers, this year. Some have also had to reduce food options during lunchtime because of supply chain problems.
Chicago Public Schools officials have also canceled all classes Friday in a bid to boost COVID-19 vaccinations among younger students who are newly eligible for the shots.
A letter from the district sent last week to parents and families said schools will be closed Friday for “Vaccination Awareness Day” after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old.