All nine schools in a district in northeast Ohio closed Monday due to understaffing, Business Insider reported.
Stow-Munroe Falls City (SMFC) School District Superintendent Tom Bratten said understaffing was caused by a combination of factors, including COVID-19, general illness, and a "severe lack of substitutes at all levels of our organization."
Bratten said teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and custodians had all been affected, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
On its website, the district says it is searching for substitute teachers, aides, bus drivers, cooks, and secretaries.
Bratten said schools would open Tuesday with normal bus routes.
Staffing problems have become a "defining feature" of this school year, reported Chalkbeat. Non-teaching, often lower-paid roles seem to have been especially difficult to find, according to Chalkbeat.
"It is affecting the whole climate of the schools," said Sabine Phillips, whose middle school in Broward County, Florida, has late-arriving buses and a lack of substitute teachers.
The United States is suffering from a labor shortage and mismatch as some people leave their jobs for ones with better wages and benefits. Many workers are reconsidering their careers. Some people are also staying home because of childcare shortages and fears of catching COVID-19.
Some potential staffers also may be reluctant to work in schools that have imposed strict mask, testing, or vaccine mandates, Chalkbeat reports.
"There’s this double-edged reason of folks not wanting to return out of concern for their safety because of the coronavirus itself and folks not feeling comfortable getting vaccinated or getting tested," Luis Rodriguez, an NYU education researcher, told Chalkbeat.
Substitute-teaching staff are in high demand in some areas to replace teachers who are isolating after being exposed to COVID-19.
Some school districts are increasing wages and offering sign-on bonuses. Business Insider reported that an elementary school in Philadelphia purchased pizza for 400 students after food-services staff didn't show up. And a school district in Minnesota requested that parents volunteer in its cafeterias.
"Our people in general have been asked to suck it up for two years, and honestly, they're exhausted," Ohio superintendent Bratten told the Beacon Journal.
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