“This has never happened before” AAPS Cancels School Due to Staff Shortages

Freya Israelsen and Karar Al-Shafey

“Excess staff absences and unfilled positions are leading to staff shortages,” says Casey Elmore, Principal of Diversity/Integrity SLCs. There were four days canceled due to Covid-19 and staff shortages at Skyline in October and November. Those days were October 22, November 1, November 22, and the 23rd. They were asynchronous, without meeting online. In January, the 3rd and 4th were canceled, and on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and the week of the 18-24th classes were taught online through Zoom. Most absences are because of staff and students being extra cautious and not trying to spread any potential virus. “Students and staff are trying their best to be very healthy,” says Deanna Tippett, Skyline Scheduling Office Professional.

A classroom void of its usual bustling teacher and students. (Karar Al-Shafey)

“There have been a lot of empty staff positions across the district that the district is trying to deal with,” says Cory McElmeel, principal at Skyline. Ultimately, the district decides when the school is online or canceled. “I don’t deal with the full equation; the district deals with the whole [decision],” says McElmeel. 

Shortages happen because most people follow guidelines for any symptoms. According to the AAPS COVID-19 Response Team {Letter from 9/2/2021}, “Any student with even mild symptoms should stay home, get tested and quarantine until results come back.” So, if there were any person that is sick or a person in their family that is positive for COVID or unvaccinated they would have to be absent to lower the risk of spreading any contagions. “Teachers also have to follow these guidelines too,” says Elmore.

Skyline may decide it is safest to go online again in the future. Students and families will be notified as soon as possible, but students are encouraged to bring any needed materials home, so they will be available if access to their locker is not possible. Students are also encouraged to check their email daily for any updates regarding school closure or cancellation. 

The community needs a lot of support, especially right now. “We’re trying our best to support our community especially through this pandemic,” says McElmeel, “We are facing very challenging times and the district has to make tough decisions that decide whether or not we turn to virtual  learning that day.”

If you have technical difficulties during virtual days, contact the Student & Family Virtual Help Desk at (734) 997-1222 or [email protected]. They are available from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays and until 6:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.