clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Families get late notice of canceled classes next week for Evanston, Skokie students

District 65, which includes the two northern suburbs, gave parents two days’ notice that they’re closing earlier than planned prior to Thanksgiving because of staffing shortages, according to Supt. Devon Horton.

District 65, which includes grade schools in Skokie and Evanston, is closing earlier than planned prior to Thanksgiving because of staffing shortages.
District 65, which includes grade schools in Skokie and Evanston, is closing earlier than planned prior to Thanksgiving because of staffing shortages.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Skokie and Evanston grade school students are getting a longer than expected fall break due to a shortage of substitute teachers.

District 65 Supt. Devon Horton notified parents in an email Friday that all 18 of their north suburban schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday for roughly 7,300 preschool through eighth grade students.

Horton said the decision — given to families with two days’ notice — was “made both in the interest of safety and the mental health of our team,” noting that the district wouldn’t have adequate staffing or sub coverage for the two days prior to their Thanksgiving break.

“Even with the deployment of subs and staff from Central Office, we would not have nearly enough coverage nor could we operate safely under pandemic health guidelines,” Horton wrote. “We recognize this news is difficult and may put working families in a bind.”

The superintendent said they tried to lineup childcare providers through community partners, but found “this is not feasible as they are also experiencing staffing shortages and expressed other concerns.”

The district’s nutrition services team is offering several days worth of meals to students. Distribution is scheduled for Monday between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 am. at Chute, Haven and Nichols middle schools.

Students and staff are expected to return the following Monday, Nov. 29. The district will tack on two days to the end of the school year, which will now end for most students June 8.

“We know this is very difficult and we hope that our community can both respect and understand the unique circumstances of this situation and those we all continue to face,” Horton said. “We know our staff, families, and students are all doing their best. Stress is causing burnout and people are juggling personal and professional responsibilities, and a myriad of challenges catalyzed by the pandemic. As an organization we must acknowledge this and support those directly responsible for the learning and care of our students and afford them this time and opportunity.”

School districts across the nation have reported a shortage of substitute teachers. Earlier this month, Chicago Public Schools officials abruptly canceled classes the day after Veterans Day, but insisted that was an effort to promote COVID-19 vaccination awareness and not due to a staffing shortage.