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DENVER (KDVR) — Three schools in Denver announced they will temporarily move to remote status because of staffing issues.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep our schools open and to maximize in-person learning opportunities for our students,” Denver Public Schools stated in a press release. “At the same time, we are facing a critical staffing shortage, like districts across the country, that impacts our ability to safely operate our schools.”

DPS announced temporary remote status for the following schools:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College – Thursday and Friday
  • George Washington High School – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • John H. Amesse Elementary School – Thursday and Friday

DPS said the district is evaluating each school daily to make sure staffing issues are adequate. The district said it is “committed” to telling families by 4 p.m. the day before any change to school operations.

The news follows a trend impacting other school districts on the Front Range, with staffing issues causing school closures this week at Boulder Valley Schools, Adams 12 Five Star Schools and the Adams 14 School District.

‘I’m struggling to keep up with my workload’

“Almost all Denver schools have been operating on what’s called a contingency plan for the entire school year,” said Moira Casados Cassidy, a teacher at South High School and vice president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

She said there is a crisis when it comes to a lack of substitute teachers. It’s a crisis playing out nationwide.

“We are so short on substitute teachers that there are many, many schools around the city that have been close to operational closure already this year,” Casados Cassidy said.

A big reason for the staffing crisis comes back to the pandemic.

“A lot of substitute teachers are retired teachers, and these are folks in their 60s and 70s and sometimes even older than that … who are basically saying it’s not worth the risk to go into schools at this time,” Casados Cassidy said.

Teachers, she said, are constantly losing planning periods and being forced to substitute for their colleagues when they’re away from the classrooms.

“I’m an English teacher … I’ve been asked to teach finance and accounting and a special ed class, and I’m struggling to keep up with my workload,” she said. “ I think all of my colleagues are too.”