Schools in the United States have had to close for days due to COVID-related staff shortages.

1.887 schools saw. disruptions in their schedule beginning Monday – an increase from 391 schools last week,  according to BurbioThe organization tracks websites for school districts.

This month alone, 8,692 individual schools have been affected by closures, which many school districts blamed on ‘staffing issues and mental health reasons’.

Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan (AAPS), announced that the whole week would be off for their district’s 18,073 students in 32 schools. This was an “adjustment to Thanksgiving Week”.

Ypsplinati Community Schools is one of many across the country to announce the district would cancel classes on short notice for the entire week of Thanksgiving, citing mental health and increased Covid-19 cases

Ypsplinati Community Schools was one of several schools across the nation to declare that classes would be cancelled on short notice during Thanksgiving. This announcement was made in response to increased Covid-19 case numbers and mental health. 

According to Burbio, an organization that tracks school district websites, 1,887 individual schools saw disruptions in their schedule beginning Monday - an increase from 391 individual schools disrupted last week (pictured)

Burbio, an organization which tracks the websites of school districts, reported that 1,887 schools experienced disruptions starting Monday. This is an increase on 391 schools last week.

Superintendent of Highline Public Schools in Washington state Dr Susan Enfield (pictured) has tried to combat shortages with one of the highest substitute teacher rates in the Seattle area and even got her own substitute teacher credentials to be able to cover classes herself

Oakridge Public Schools Superintendent Tom Livezey (pictured) had to close his district's schools along with nearly 20 other districts in West Michigan

Highline Public Schools superintendent Susan Enfield in Washington has been trying to address shortages. Her substitute teacher rate is among the highest in Seattle. Enfield even earned her own teacher certificates to help cover class costs. Meanwhile, Oakridge Public Schools Superintendent Tom Livezey (right) had to close his district’s schools along with nearly 20 other districts in West Michigan

‘We are currently experiencing an alarming increase in staff and student Covid-19 cases as well as related staffing challenges in the AAPS,’ the statement from Superintendent Jeanice K Swift read.  

Swift explained that staffing problems would be likely in the fall district. Swift said they had raised their daily and long-term replacement pay rates twice to encourage a weak labor pool. 

Ypsplinati Community Schools also in Michigan announced it would cancel its district on November 22 and 23, to do a deep cleaning ahead of the Thanksgiving break.

The statement said that ‘two central themes have been on the top of everyone’s mind. Physical and mental wellbeing.’ It added that Covid-19 mitigation continues at school and staff has stepped up to fill the gaps. This resulted in “unprecedented amounts of fatigue.”

Fox 17 reports that nearly 20 schools in Michigan were closed for long holidays. Schools will resume classes Monday. 

Oakridge Public Schools Superintendent Tom Livezey told the news station: ‘We had 10 teachers absent on Friday that did not have a substitute teacher to fill the classroom. We had to close schools because we were experiencing a shortage of educators due to all the closings, and also the domino effect from surrounding districts. 

Evanston/Skokie school District 65, Illinois, also cancelled full-week of classes. It blamed insufficient staffing and sub coverage for providing necessary care.

The statement stated that educators and support personnel need to take a break and concentrate on their mental health. 

According to CBS2 Chicago, more than 1,400 full-time jobs are available in Illinois schools as of Tuesday. This is more than twice the number it was four year ago.

Detroit Public Schools announced Friday, December 5, that they will use virtual learning to help address the mental health of overworked school employees. 

Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) in Michigan announced last week that their 18,073 students across the district's 32 schools would get the entire week off in an 'adjustment for Thanksgiving Week'

Ann Arbor Public Schools, Michigan (AAPS) announced last week that all 32 of their schools in the district would receive the week off as part of an ‘adjustment Thanksgiving Week’.

AAPS Superintendent Jeanice K Swift released a statement explaining that the district would likely experience staffing challenges throughout the fall

Jeanice K Swift (AAPS Superintendent) released a statement in which she explained that there would be staffing difficulties throughout the fall.

It's not just teachers who are feeling the burnout and ahead of a long weekend Anderson Community Schools in Indiana announced it will be on a virtual learning schedule on Tuesday, November 23, due to a lack of bus drivers

Anderson Community Schools, Indiana has announced that they will go virtual on Tuesday 23 November due to the lack of drivers for buses.

Anderson Community Schools made the announcement in a post via Facebook (pictured)

Anderson Community Schools posted the announcement via Facebook (photo).

In Illinois, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 also canceled the full week of classes and blamed it on not having 'adequate staffing or sub coverage to provide necessary care'

Evanston/Skokie School district 65 in Illinois also cancelled the entire week of classes. They blamed a lack of ‘adequate personnel or sub-cover to provide needed care’.

Superintendent Nikolai P Vitti gave the explanation for the changes in a “special announcement” released November 17. He noted that it was based on concerns expressed by school leaders, teachers support staff, students, and their families about the need to receive mental health relief.

He also spoke out about rising Covid and how it is taking more time to clean schools. 

Just last week, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said that Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising among people fully vaccinated who have not had booster shots.  

Fauci, who is the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that the decline in immunity after the first shots has led to an increase in severe infections among the immunized.

NBC News interviewer, David Sullivan said that he is beginning to notice an increase in hospitalizations for people who were vaccinated and not boosted.

According to CDC data as of Sunday, 29286 Covid new infections had occurred. It is not known how many of these were breakthrough cases. At 90,823, the seven-day average was 90,823. 

These numbers were higher than the Sunday before, which saw 27,898 cases being reported. The seven-day average for the same period was 81.495. 

According to a statement, the CDC claimed that they do not have information on the hospitalization rate for booster-vaccinated individuals compared to people without. 

Oregon’s Ontario School District 8C has approved “Asynchronous Fridays” whereby students have an independent day at the end each week, from November 19 through March 3. 

Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools made the final-minute decision that Friday, October 28, Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools would make Friday, 11/11/12, a mental health day, for both students and staff.

An announcement stated that Superintendent Tricia M. McMananus had said that students and staff would have to take care of their own health.

‘It will be a day to focus on the mental health of students and staff by showing kindness, community, and connection,’ McManus added before including examples of acts of kindness as well as social and physical activities proven to ‘alleviate feelings of loneliness, stress and anxiety’. 

In Washington State, Superintendent of Highline Public Schools Dr Susan Enfield has tried to combat shortages by increasing the wages paid to substitute teachers in the Seattle area, according to NPR.

To keep schools open during extreme teacher shortages, the district raised rates for stand-in teachers from $65 to $240.

Enfield described the measure as ‘an all-hands-on-deck situation’  and even got her own substitute teacher credentials to be able to cover classes herself. 

It was noted that she loved a long weekend just as much as anyone else, but expressed a stronger interest in helping parents work while at school. 

“I understand that my staff is exhausted. The Superintendent said that families are often working several jobs and that if they discover that they need to find childcare, it can be a difficult task. 

Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that the US is seeing an 'uptick' in Covid-19 hospitalizations among fully vaccinated people who have not had a booster

On Tuesday, Dr Anthony Fauci stated that there is an “uptick” in Covid-19 hospitalizations within the USA among people fully vaccinated who haven’t had boosters.

Teachers are not the only ones feeling burnout.

Anderson Community Schools, Indiana, announced that it would be using a virtual learning program on Tuesday 23 November, ahead of long weekends due to the lack of drivers for buses.

The school district announced on Facebook that they would resume instruction in person following the Thanksgiving Break. Sorry for this short notice. However, we cannot control the situation.

Parents across America were angry at the closings, and felt that they could not rely on America’s public schools.

Tabbatha Renea was a single mom of a first grader in Michigan’s AAPS. She shared with NPR a fiery message she sent to the superintendent.

“Does your child’s progress in math and reading? Do you even care?” She wrote that she didn’t just care about the finding childcare. While I am able to send my child to watch TV with Grandma, she is unable or unwilling to do her homeschooling.

“Consider that AAPS has made decisions, which are very concerning. Please enter your email address Are making are adding to the battle her mother and she have to win to make sure she is successful in later life. It is my hope that you will lose your sleep about it as much as I did for the past 1.5 year and continue to do so.

Jennifer Reesman is another parent who works as a healthcare professional and is the single mother of her daughter at Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland. She said the closes felt like “a slap in front of all those essential workers (who also happen to be parents)”.

Montgomery County Public Schools cancelled the Thanksgiving half-day school with just two weeks’ notice.

Reesman stated that while it is only half a day, “Granted it’s just a few hours…but speaking with other parents, I feel like we are witnessing the end of public education up close,” Reesman said to NPR.