School district announces 3 off days to compensate for staff shortages |

School district announces 3 off days to compensate for staff shortages

Sandrock Elementary School.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Staff shortages across the school district have led the Moffat County School Board to vote to add extra staff and development days to the semester calendar, meaning children in the MCSD will get extra days off in October, November and December.

In a letter sent to parents and guardians last week, the school district said that national teacher and staff shortages have affected almost every aspect of day-to-day management of schools in the district. As a result, there will be no school on Oct. 29, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10.

“Our administration, teachers and staff members in all buildings have truly stepped up to cover staff shortages when needed and on late notice to keep our schools open,” the letter reads. “However, the constant juggling and reworking of schedules and responsibilities is taking a toll on our staff.”

According to teachers in the district, many are foregoing planning periods in order to cover shifts in other classes or to cover bus and cafeteria duties. Some administrators have even gotten their bus licenses to help with the district’s driver shortage. Currently, MCSD is operating with approximately 70% of its usual fleet, causing route consolidations and driver wages to be raised.

Last week, the district sent out an all-call looking for those interested in working for the district, even part-time. The district has been “very close” to closing schools as a result of shortages, and teachers are experiencing “varying levels of burnout.”

“When we add the impact of isolations and quarantines due to COVID, we are at risk of school closure due to the lack of staff to appropriately teach, supervise, feed, or transport our students,” last week’s letter read. “Our transportation department has had to consolidate routes and use administrators and maintenance personnel to cover routes on a daily basis.”

According to the district website, there are 39 openings across the district, including 10 athletics positions. At the high school level, MCSD is looking for six teachers and counselors, and there are two more positions at the elementary level. Various student support positions like student psychologist and other counselor jobs are open as well.

“We understand that any schedule changes places a burden on our district families, therefore this decision was not taken lightly,” Friday’s letter reads.

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