Denver and Seattle school districts are canceling classes this week because of staff shortages, reports say

Kids in school wearing masks
Schools across the US are facing staff shortages, forcing some to close or move online. Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM via Getty Images
  • Seattle and Denver schools are closing this week because they don’t have enough staff, per reports.
  • Seattle Public Schools said it doesn’t have “adequate personnel” to open schools for students.
  • Three schools in Denver will turn to remote-learning due to staffing issues, per The Denver Post.

School districts in Denver and Seattle are canceling classes this week because of a shortage of staff, according to reports.

Three Denver school districts located in the metro area are canceling classes and closing on Friday because they can’t find enough staff and substitute teachers to take the students’ classes, The Denver Post reported on Tuesday. Another three schools will shift to remote-learning for up to three days this week due to the shortage, The Post added.

Seattle Public Schools said in a statement on its website that it will be shut on Friday because it doesn’t have enough staff available to open its schools. SPS said in a statement to The Seattle Times that more than 600 teaching staff asked for a substitute for Friday, the day after Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday.

Schools are already scheduled to be closed on Thursday because of Veteran’s Day, per the reports.

Seattle officials told The Times that the number of leave requests was “indicative of the fatigue” which staff and students were feeling months after returning to school.

Labor shortages have hit schools across the US, impacting substitute teachers, cafeteria workers, and school bus drivers. Some schools are so desperate for staff that they’ve asked parents and even their own students to help out.

A Denver Public Schools spokesman told The Post that it’s doing everything it can to keep its schools open, but warned that it was experiencing “a critical staffing shortage” which “impacts our ability to safely operate our schools.”

DPS had been unable to fill vacant positions, some employees were on leave to care for family members, and some other staff members were sick, the Post reported, citing the spokesman.

The SPS said in its statement that “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,”

The cancellation of classes was caused by “the statewide shortage of substitute teachers,” according to a statement from the Seattle Education Association reported by The Seattle Times. “Filling in for missing staff is more difficult this year because of the extra support needed to meet all COVID-19 safety protocols”, the union statement added, per The Times.