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A new trend: Schools cancelling classes to combat illness and staffing shortages

(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:21 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 5:42 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Public Schools announced last Friday that it’s cancelling classes for students the next three Fridays starting with Jan. 21 to address a large number of students missing school and on-going staffing shortages. The Fridays will be workdays for teachers.

Several other area schools are experiencing the same issues and implementing similar strategies.

Wahoo Public Elementary School is closing for the remainder of the week. An email sent to families Tuesday said, “the closure is due to an inability to sufficiently staff the building for the safety and education of the students.”

Wahoo Middle and High Schools will remain open and on the regular schedule.

Beatrice Public Schools cancelled classes for students Thursday and Friday. Teachers will still report.

“We are experiencing challenges at every position – teachers, paraeducators, nurses, counselors, psychologists, transportation, nutrition services, custodial, office support staff, administrators, and all of the other support positions that help a school run safely. In addition, a large number of students are missing valuable instruction and falling behind.”

Beatrice Public Schools

Students at Hastings Public Schools will get a three day weekend. HPS is cancelling class on Monday, Jan. 24. It will be a teacher workday.

“This change to the calendar will also allow staff to catch up on some of the planning time they have missed while covering classes for their colleagues who could not attend.”

Hastings Public Schools

Grand Island Public Schools broke the news late Monday night that they will be switching to a four-day school week, in a letter to GIPS families. The change is only temporary and is expected to last for the next five weeks and then GIPS will reevaluate the situation. The change is effective this Friday, January 21. Teachers will still have to report to their schools for planning time and to prepare.

“Well we continue to be faced with challenges during this pandemic and they are very much multifaceted and so by shifting to the four-day school week we are really looking at protecting the quality of learning in combination with combating the impacts of COVID-19,” GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover said.

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