Schools shift to temporary remote learning model due to substantial staffing shortages

Substantial staffing shortages are affecting classrooms across the region.

Three high schools in the Lake Washington School District are now temporarily moving to a remote learning model until next Tuesday, Jan. 18. 

"I don’t want to catch COVID. Also, the safety of my peers and then my teachers, so it’s just a good break, and it’s only for a week, so I think it’s just better and safer for everyone," said student Sofia Milligan. "I think it’s just everyone regrouping themselves, getting better and being more safe."

In a letter to families, the district said Lake Washington High School’s transition to remote was "due to substantial staffing shortages that are the result of COVID-related quarantines, general illnesses, and other absences." 

RELATED: Seattle Public Schools reports record-high 704 COVID cases in just a week's time

The Superintendent of Lake Washington School District further explained the high school is not experiencing an outbreak:

To be clear, this is not a case where the health department is dictating closure due to an on-campus outbreak. This decision is being made by our district due to our inability to safely operate school as a result of so many staff being absent and the number of unfilled sub positions. 

Over the last week, both Lake Washington High School and Central Office staff have gone above and beyond to fill uncovered administrative, classroom and supervisory positions. We are at a point where there are more absences than we can cover which has caused us to make this decision. As I have said, our goal has been to keep our schools open for in-person learning with the knowledge that we may need to close a school. I greatly appreciate your understanding as we navigate the current situation. 

Teaching materials will be provided to students asynchronously on Monday and Tuesday, January 10th and 11th, while teachers prepare their synchronous/’live’ teaching schedule to begin Wednesday, January 12th. 

"A lot of kids are coming up as positive," said Sadhiq Farook, a parent in Bothell. "I believe that all the school districts should come together and decide and come up with one resolution, ‘OK, we’ll do it for one week, two weeks' or something like that."

On Monday, the district announced Redmond High School and Juanita High School will move to a remote learning model between Jan. 11-19 due to staffing challenges.

"Districts are struggling with this question. They’re doing their best to stay open, and our general observation is they are doing a good job until they just cannot staff their buildings enough, and that’s when they’re having to make this tough choice," said Chris Reykdal, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. "People are doing the right thing. They’re calling us, telling us they got it, and they need to be out five days and when there’s enough of them who do that, we don’t have the staff to run a school. Thankfully, it isn’t very severe out there. It is however voluminous. It’s everywhere, so yeah, we’re getting a lot more phone calls.

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android.

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram