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Tags: schools | cancellations | parents

Parents Left Scrambling After Many Schools Nationwide Cancel Classes on Short Notice

Parents Left Scrambling After Many Schools Nationwide Cancel Classes on Short Notice
Children line up to go back into their classrooms after taking part in a bunny hop and class portrait in the schoolyard at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on March 25, 2021, in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty)

By    |   Monday, 29 November 2021 12:59 PM

School districts across the country have been canceling classes on very short notice this month, citing staff shortages and fatigue, as well as mental health, resulting in parents having to make sudden alternative arrangements to take care of their children, NPR reports.

These sudden closures, often announced only a few days in advance, have increased in November, according to Burbio, an organization that tracks school district websites. They have also affected more than 8,6oo individual schools so far.

Jennifer Reesman, who works in health care and is a single mother of a daughter in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, told NPR that "We're upset because it really is a slap in the face to all of those essential workers" who are parents, adding that she and other parents "all feel like we're witnessing the death of public education up close and personal."

School leaders, such as Michigan’s Ypsilanti Community Schools superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross, explained that her staff received no summer break, since about a third of the district's students came for extended summer school, and are burned out.

In addition to teachers, the custodial staff has put in 800 hours of accumulated overtime, and is still unable to keep up with the demand for cleaning and disinfection due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some parents told NPR that they were sympathetic that the staff at school needed a break or agreed that the extra days off might help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but others were livid that their children are not receiving what they considered a proper education.

Robin Lake, the director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, told NPR that she's dubious when schools cite the need for "mental health days."

"Whose mental health are we talking about?" Lake said. "We need to be really clear about that. We know that students have really struggled with their mental health in remote learning, the social isolation, time away from friends, away from supports for kids with special needs."

Lake admitted that staff shortages and educator stress are real issues, but "what I want to raise is whether we can support teachers' mental health and keep kids in schools. I think we can ... I think we've gotten into this mode of, every time things get hard, our answer is closed school. That's really problematic."

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School districts across the country have been canceling classes on very short notice this month, citing staff shortages and fatigue, as well as mental health, resulting in parents having to make sudden alternative arrangements to take care of their children, NPR...
schools, cancellations, parents
387
2021-59-29
Monday, 29 November 2021 12:59 PM
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