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Spokane Public Schools closed today because of COVID-related staffing shortages

Spokane Public School students do not have class on Jan. 18 because of low staffing levels.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools are closed on Tuesday, Jan. 18 because of staffing shortages brought on by COVID-19.

SPS will not offer morning or afternoon childcare on Jan. 18. Sports and other extracurricular activities are being adjusted as well and changes should be communicated by the school's athletics director.

SPS reported that 1,158 staff and students were in quarantine due to a possible COVID-19 case, as of Friday.

The district has managed to cover several classes with substitute teachers, central office staff and administrators, but other staff members have had to step in to cover other classes

Washington public health officials have predicted the Omicron surge will peak as soon as this week, but SPS said staffing conditions will not improve and may worsen over the next several weeks.

In preparation for the predicted peak, SPS officials are adjusting the school calendar "to provide additional time for staff to complete quarantines required by the Department of Health".  

Students will also be out of school on Monday, Jan. 24, pending conditions. SPS said they "highly anticipate" students being out of school on Jan. 24, but will provide parents with final confirmation no later than Thursday, Jan. 20.

"Our intent is to continue providing in-person learning, as recommended by public health officials," SPS said in an email. "Shifting the school calendar instead of canceling school keeps as many students in school as possible with minimal disruption to education and other SPS services."

Any additional information about the closure can be found on the SPS website.

In an email sent to SPS families, they advised parents that students and staff will follow current CDC guidelines for quarantining. If positive, both vaccinated and unvaccinated students will need to quarantine for five days. 

If exposed, unvaccinated students can return to school after six day with a negative test.

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