An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spokane students will see four-day weekend due to COVID-19 staffing shortages

Spokane Public Schools

Spokane Public Schools will have some three- and four-day weekends this month because of coronavirus-fueled teacher shortage.

District Superintendent Adam Swinyard says the district is short 400 teachers who have the virus, or are quarantining due to exposure.

"We're trying to have as thoughtful approach as possible,” Swinyard said. “That's why we're doing the advanced notice, that's why we're strategically connecting these days to weekends to provide those spaces, as time to allow the quarantining, and also to maintain the continuity of service to kids, as compared to taking a full week off. We're trying to recognize the various needs and the strains on our school district."

Swinyard says the school is already struggling with a high absentee rate, with about 20% of students missing school Thursday.

Students already get next Monday off in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Now they will also get Tuesday off because of the staffing shortages. Swinyard says the district is filling as many gaps as possible with substitute teachers and administrators who don’t normally work in classrooms.

He says the district is doing everything it can to avoid a return to remote learning.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.