Public schools in the Puget Sound area are canceling classes on Friday due to staffing shortages.
The closures will impact both the Seattle and Bellevue school districts.
“Please be advised all Bellevue Schools will be closed on Friday, November 12, in addition to Thursday, November 11 because of staffing shortages, anticipated inclement weather and COVID-19 restrictions,” Bellevue School District announced.
Seattle Public Sschools (SPS) sent an email to parents on Tuesday saying there was an “unusually large number of SPS staff taking leave on Friday,” The Seattle Times reported. They said last week that more than 600 teachers had requested leave the day after Veterans Day, which is a school holiday.
The Seattle Education Association (SEA) said in a statement that the shortages are indicative of teachers not getting the support they need, especially with the implementations of COVID-19 protocols.
“Educators are stretching themselves to the limit to provide COVID-safe, quality services and learning for all of our students but we cannot succeed without adequate support. Friday’s closure is Seattle Public Schools’ decision, caused not by SEA educators but by a statewide shortage of substitutes. This shortage is particularly acute because of the additional support schools need to meet the needed COVID safety protocols,” the teachers' union said.
Seattle officials stated that staff is experiencing “fatigue” after they were out of the classroom for so long due to the pandemic, and that the “four-day weekend may offer physical, mental, and emotional restoration.”
The Friday cancellation will be made up later in the school year.
“The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction needs to hear how the staffing shortages and systemic underfunding of public education is directly impacting our abilities to meet the needs of children in this pandemic,” SEA added.