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Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Cancels School Due To Staff Shortages, Extends School Year

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has canceled school on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 due to staff shortages, according to a letter from the district's superintendent.

"As we head into the weekend, I would like to provide as much notice as possible that it will be necessary to cancel school next week on Monday, November 22, and Tuesday, November 23. There will be no school for all PreK-8 grade students in District 65," Dr. Devon Horton wrote in a letter sent out Friday.

Devon wrote that students and staff will return on Monday, Nov. 29, following the fall break.

"This decision was made both in the interest of safety and the mental health of our team," Horton wrote.

He said the district will not have adequate staffing or sub coverage to conhold school.

"We believe this is a result of educators and support staff needing to rest and focus on mental health and also to tend to their own families," the letter states.

Additional staff from the district's central office could not cover the shortage either. The district was also unable to coordinate childcare services for families as those services are also experiencing staffing shortages.

The district is, however, coordinating food distribution for students. Several days worth of meals will be available for pickup for all district students and Chute Middle School, Haven Middle School and Nichols Middle School on Monday, Nov. 22, from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

"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 wrote. "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."

Due to this change, the school year will be extended by two days, making the last day of school for kindergarten through eighth grade students Wednesday, June 8. The last day for Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Center will be June 6.

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