Multiple Kansas school districts close due to COVID staffing shortages

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Rising COVID cases are causing staffing shortages across Kansas, forcing some schools to close temporarily.

The El Dorado and Peabody-Burns districts did not have class Thursday and are closed Friday due to a lack of teachers and substitutes. The Fairfield district made a similar decision Thursday afternoon, including remote learning from Tuesday to Friday next week. The superintendent said it was a tough decision.

“We feel bad for the inconvenience that this is causing for people, and we tried our very best not to have to do this; however, it just became impossible,” said Betsy McKinney, the superintendent of USD 310.

McKinney said they currently have 20% of students out sick with COVID or quarantining and 39% of teachers and paraprofessionals.

“It just became unsustainable. We have too many students, too many adults gone, and no more available subs,” McKinney said.

Mckinney hopes that by Jan. 24, students and teachers can return. The superintendent of El Dorado, Teresa Tosh, said they are in a similar situation.

“We did reach out to the health department to kind of lay out where we are and discuss options and ideas and through that process. It became we are probably at the point of closing for the next two days,” Tosh said.

The district has about 20% of staff and 12% of students out sick or quarantining with 10% of student illnesses separate from COVID.

“We choose to manage these days like we would a snow day, and then, we will use our remote learning days down the road if we need to do that,” said Tosh.

Northwest High School in Wichita announced they were postponing their homecoming dance, scheduled for Saturday because of rising COVID rates.

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