Seattle, Bellevue, Kent school districts cancel classes Friday due to staff shortages

Nov 9, 2021, 1:12 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2021, 7:37 am
classes, school cancel...
A view of an empty school hallway. (File photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(File photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) announced Tuesday that the entire school district will cancel all classes Friday, citing issues with low staffing. Later on Tuesday, the Bellevue School District (BSD) made a similar announcement, also cancelling classes Friday. Kent School District followed up on Wednesday with a cancellation.

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SPS made its announcement in an email sent out to families on Tuesday, stating that it was “aware of an unusually large number of SPS staff taking leave on Friday,” and that it does “not believe we have adequate personnel to open schools with the necessary environment for high-quality learning.”

Kent School District said its Friday closure is due to staff and substitute shortages. The day will be made up on Friday, March 25, 2022.

The BSD’s website states that schools will be closed Friday “because of staffing shortages, anticipated inclement weather, and COVID-19 restrictions.” Classes will resume and school will reopen Monday.

School remains canceled Thursday for Veterans Day in the school districts as well.

In total, it’s estimated that 600 Seattle teachers put in a request for a substitute for Friday by late last week, with additional requests arriving in the last couple days.

The Seattle school district further clarified the decision to cancel classes Friday in a statement to MyNorthwest, noting that the “number of leave requests on a Friday after a federal holiday is indicative of the fatigue our staff and students are experiencing in these months of the return to the classroom.”

“The four-day weekend may offer physical, mental, and emotional restoration,” said Tim Robinson, SPS spokesperson.

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SPS plans to add the missed day onto the end of the 2021-22 school calendar to hit the requisite number of educational hours for students. BSD says Friday, Jan. 28, will be the makeup day.

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Seattle, Bellevue, Kent school districts cancel classes Friday due to staff shortages