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Olathe Public Schools will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday

Olathe Public Schools
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jan 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 00:56:24-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Olathe Public Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday after reaching “dire circumstances,” according to Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager.

The district experienced staffing numbers it had “never experienced before” on Friday.

"At the end of the day on Friday, when we got our report, we had over 800 staff members absent last Friday, and that's a combination of our certified and classified staff," Yeager told KSHB 41.

With 800 staff members out, that meant almost 20% of the entire staff was unavailable, causing some teachers and staff members to be stretched thin.

"We’ve had staff covering sometimes two or three classrooms just so we can have school, and you know district office administrators subbing in classrooms," Yeager said. "People that wouldn’t normally be on foodservice lines serving lunch, all those kinds of things, and so there is literally not a single person in our system that hasn’t lent every bit of effort they could to us having school."

In a letter to families Sunday night, Yeager said there were still more than 100 unfilled positions Friday even with 400 substitutes and the entire Learning Services department serving as substitutes.

Plus, he said there were more than 1,500 positive student cases last week.

“Our dedicated principals, teachers, and staff did their best to cover for one another to make sure students could learn, but it was a great challenge,” Yeager said.

In an effort to provide time for students and staff to recover, school is canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Schools were already set to be closed Monday to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

“All schools and all support buildings will be closed and staff will not report to work,” Yeager said. “Activities, athletics, and facility rental will be canceled. Students and staff will report back on Thursday, Jan. 20.”

Yeager also addressed in his letter that while the state allows up to 40 hours of remote learning, there is still too high a volume of infected staff to conduct remote learning.