School canceled before Thanksgiving in District 65 for Skokie and Evanston students due to shortages
Skokie and Evanston Elementary School students have a longer fall break than expected due to a lack of replacement teachers.
District 65 Devon Horton emailed parents Friday that all 18 of their northern suburban schools will close on Mondays and Tuesdays for approximately 7,300 preschool through eighth graders.
Horton said the decision – given two days’ notice to families – was “made in the interests of both the safety and the mental health of our team,” noting that the district had failed to do so in the two days prior There was a shortage of staff or underfunding on their Thanksgiving Day.
“Even with the deployment of subs and headquarters staff, we would not have nearly adequate coverage, nor could we operate safely according to pandemic health guidelines,” Horton wrote. “We understand that this news is difficult and could put working families in a bind.”
The superintendent said they tried to match childcare providers through partners in the community but stated that “this is not feasible as they also have staff shortages and other concerns”.
The district nutrition team offers students meals for several days. Distribution is scheduled for Monday between 8.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. at Chute, Haven, and Nichols Middle Schools.
Students and staff are expected to return the following Monday, November 29th. The district will act for two days through the end of the school year, which now ends June 8 for most students.
“We know this is very difficult and we hope that our community can both respect and understand the unique circumstances of this situation and those we all continue to face,” said Horton. “We know that our employees, families and students all do their best. Stress leads to burnout and people juggle personal and professional commitments and a variety of challenges catalyzed by the pandemic. As an organization, we need to acknowledge this and support those who are directly responsible for learning and caring for our students, and give them the time and opportunity. “
School districts across the country have reported a shortage of replacement teachers. Earlier this month, Chicago Public Schools officials abruptly canceled classes the day after Veterans Day, but insisted it was an attempt to raise awareness of COVID-19 vaccinations and not due to a staff shortage.