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SchoolWatch: North Bend schools close Friday over staffing shortage

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SchoolWatch: North Bend schools close Friday over staffing shortage

NORTH BEND, Ore. — Classes are canceled for students in the North Bend School District on Friday.

Officials said staff and substitute shortage are behind the move to shut down district schools. The change applies to all five schools in the district. All campuses will be closed and staff are asked to not report to their classrooms.

Superintendent Kevin Bogatin said he's been tracking absences daily over the past month due to COVID-19, the flu and colds, and the number has only been increasing. This past week they intended on having school open, but about 20% of the staff are out with some time of absence, illness or leave request, he added.

Just today, two middle school staff members who thought they would be in on Friday ended up not being able to. Bogatin said he doesn't like to make last-minute calls, but sometimes it happens.

Oftentimes, they can adjust, but with a shortage of substitutes on top of custodians and kitchen staff, he said there are concerns about being able to clean up after breakfasts and being able to supervise recess breaks.

A lot of teachers are teaching during their preparation periods to cover other classes and music and physical education classes are being canceled on a regular basis, Bogatin added.

While they can now hire non-licensed individuals to act as substitutes according to a new rule from the state, Bogatin said they don't feel comfortable using inexperienced people, unless they're pursuing a degree or have experience with children.

One staff member resigned this week, saying that the situation is harder than they signed up for, Bogatin shared.

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