Due to Illness and Staff Shortages, Two Vermont Schools Have Cancelled Classes

Spaulding High School in Barre and U-32 Middle & High School in East Montpelier canceled classes on Monday due to widespread sickness and staffing problems, following a month with few school interruptions.

Washington Central Unified Union School District Superintendent Meagan Roy decided to conduct morning sessions at U-32 but dismiss students after lunch, while Barre Unified Union School District Superintendent Chris Hennessey decided to close Spaulding High School for the whole day.

This past Monday morning, Hennessey emailed the school community to inform them that there had been a “substantial surge” in student and staff absences due to COVID-19 and other diseases beginning last week.

After “every conceivable attempt,” Hennessey wrote, “it became evident very early this morning that we simply did not have enough staff on hand to open securely.”

When reached by phone on Monday, Hennessey said that a lack of both regular and replacement instructors had played a role in the decision to cancel classes.

Two Vermont Schools Have Cancelled Classes

There aren’t many available substitute instructors, and even though his district has employed permanent replacements for each school (those who come in every day and cover any class they’re required to), some of those individuals are sick. He claimed that the high school was very close to being forced to close on Friday, but that administrators and clerical staff saved the day by covering for absent teachers.

According to Hennessey, his district is “constantly” looking for new support workers and substitute instructors to fill open jobs.

Washington Central’s superintendent Roy told Seven Days via email that a lack of personnel contributed to the decision to close U-32 for the morning. Particularly challenging has been weathering “normal” absences due to cold, flu, and COVID-19 owing to a shortage of replacements.

This “urgent scenario” necessitated a Monday “reorganization of U-32’s day to favor morning classes,” she added.

The scenario was “a perfect storm of sorts,” as Roy put it; it was not due to any one illness or vacancy in particular, but rather to the confluence of both.

According to her, the school system is planning on having classes on Tuesday.

Hennessey called closing schools an “extreme last-resort option,” but acknowledged that it is occasionally necessary.

If you’re looking for relevant content, please check out journalization.org.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top