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Seattle schools suddenly cancel classes on Friday due to staffing shortage

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Seattle Public Schools and the Bellevue School District informed parents via a letter that due to staffing shortages classes are canceled on Friday in an effort to “ensure the highest quality environment for student learning.”

Thursday is Veterans Day and schools were already scheduled to be closed due to the holiday. Evidently, an “unusually large number” of teachers and staff decided to take a four-day weekend leaving parents scrambling to get someone to watch after the kids while they go to work. Remote instruction is also canceled for Friday. This prompted the last-minute letter to parents from the school districts.

Planning for school days is usually mapped out months in advance and many thought it odd that the district would allow so many to take a four-day holiday when it was known that Friday was still an in-school day.

“As of last week, more than 600 educators had requested a substitute and additional requests came in this week,” Seattle Public Schools said in a statement to Fox News. “Based on historical patterns, it is likely many additional staff would take leave and not come in on Friday morning. With the current labor shortage of substitutes, and our current staffing levels, SPS does not have the capacity to ensure student safety and high-quality learning.”

The districts, however, are excusing the quandary by saying that teachers have historically requested the day after Veterans Day off. Seattle Public Schools and the Bellevue School District are naturally blaming “staffing shortages, anticipated inclement weather and COVID-19 restrictions” instead of a lack of planning for the event.

Bellevue School District noted in their letter, according to KIRO 7, “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.”

“This is a change from the 2021-2022 calendar of school year dates approved last spring, and we recognize the late notice creates challenging circumstances for many families,” Seattle Public Schools lamely noted.

Bellevue schools said a makeup day is planned for Jan. 28. Classes will resume on Monday, Nov. 15.

“We recognize that this notice may result in the need for childcare for families. Right at School, our partner in providing childcare is on hand to assist those who wish to get quick access to their services. Specific information regarding Right at School will be provided on our website,” Bellevue schools announced.

The school districts told Fox News that the number of leave requests following Veterans Day is “indicative” of the fatigue that staff and students have undergone after returning to the classroom. They also asserted that a four-day weekend “may offer physical, mental, and emotional restoration.”

Districts across Washington state, where all state employees are required to be fully vaccinated, are using incentives and recruiting tactics to hire new staff, substitutes, and reduce the burden on existing teachers. Educators are claiming that shortages are causing even more teachers and staff to burn out.

The move by Seattle school districts was roundly mocked on social media:

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