Denver and Seattle schools are forced to close this week due to staff shortages, underscoring the current national jobs crisis.
Denver Public Schools (DPS) announced that three of its schools would cancel classes this week, according to The Denver Post. While in Washington, the Bellevue and Seattle schools made similar announcements canceling classes.
School districts in both states cited staffing issues, with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) throwing a statement That said, “we are aware that a higher than normal number of SPS staff is leaving on Friday and we do not believe we have adequate staff to open schools.”
SPS confirmed that it will close schools on Thursday and Friday of this week.
The Seattle Education Association (SEA) said its class cancellations were due to a shortage of substitute teachers across the state and that COVID-19 has made it more difficult to fill those vacancies. according to the Seattle Times.
“Educators are doing their best to provide quality, COVID-safe learning and services for all of our students, but we cannot be successful without the right support,” the SEA said in a statement.
In Denver, three school districts said they would also close due to staff shortages, and The Post reported that schools could not find enough substitute teachers and other staff to keep schools open.
Will Jones, a spokesman for DPS, told The Post that, “We are doing everything in our power to keep our schools open and maximize in-person learning opportunities for our students. At the same time, we are faced with a critical shortage of staff, like districts across the country, that affects our ability to operate our schools safely. ”
The National Education Association (NEA) found in a June survey that among its members, 32 percent said the pandemic had led them to plan to quit teaching earlier than planned. the RAND Corporation It also found that nearly one in four teachers said they were likely to quit their jobs by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
The teacher shortage has been a long-standing problem in the US, now exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers are facing changes to the mandates for masks and vaccinations in schools, all while having a responsibility to present themselves to students.
Becky Pringle, president of NEA, said in a statement that “We are facing a looming crisis of losing educators at a time when our students need them most. This is a serious problem with potential effects for generations. “
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