By Conor McCue

*Editor’s note: This story is updated to reflect Adams County School District 14’s decision to cancel class on Nov. 12 as well.

(CBS4) – Three Colorado school districts will cancel classes later this week because they don’t have the staff to stay open. Boulder Valley School District, Adams 12 Five-Star Schools and Adams County School District 14 Schools all announced they won’t have class on Friday. It will give both students and staff a four-day weekend, since there also won’t be school Thursday in observance of Veterans Day.

“With the Veterans Day holiday being on the Thursday, it created a large number of staffing shortages,” said David Lockley, president of the District 12 Educators Association, the union representing Adams 12 teachers.

In a letter to parents about the decision, the district said it had grown increasingly concerned about the potential lack of staff to fill the number of already planned absences for the day.

“It’s not that our teachers are taking more days off than they have in the past, it’s just that we don’t have the subs to cover them,” Lockley said.

Lockley called the decision an anomaly and said the schools could still operate safely that day without closing. While he does not expect any more decisions like this, the issue behind it is not going away.

“We see this every single time the economy really is cooking like it is right now with wages going up and relatively low unemployment rates,” he said. “Our district has increased the pay for subs, they’ve offered additional incentives, they’ve hired everyday building-based subs, but that just hasn’t been enough to get us anywhere near the levels we’ve been historically.”

The Boulder Valley School District announced it will also not hold class Friday for similar reasons. In a letter to the community, superintendent Rob Anderson said the day “will be used as a much-needed workday for BVSD staff, who, again, have been stretched to the breaking point this semester.”

In Adams 12, Lockley said district leaders are considering having vaccine clinics for newly eligible students, as well as staff looking to get a booster shot.

“It kind of made it the perfect storm of opportunity for everybody,” Lockley said.
It’s a temporary fix to one part of the staffing issues facing many districts, but far from a long-term solution.

“Our school districts are suffering from the same kind of employment pinch that everyone else is,” Lockley said.

“Unless the state makes a major investment, we’re going to continue to see these kinds of shortages.”

According to its website, Adams 12 is still planning and gauging interest for the potential vaccine clinics when school is closed. There is a form where parents can give their input.

Adams 14 says the day off will be treated as a snow day.

Conor McCue