Bemidji Area Schools Extends MLK Break Due to COVID-19, Staffing Shortages
The Bemidji school district will be extending their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Break by one additional day due to staffing shortages throughout the district.
In a release sent out today, Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Tim Lutz said that the district is experiencing the same COVID-19 wave that is creating issues for many school districts across the state of Minnesota.
“Our ability to maintain the capacity to operate our schools and facilities is being greatly strained,” said Lutz.
ISD 31 is experiencing what the Twin Cities metro and other schools are struggling with to keep their operations staffed due to a number of issues related to COVID-19, influenza, common cold, and more.
Due to these staffing shortage concerns across the district, and the high increase of student absences, Bemidji Area Schools has called for an emergency COVID-19 closure on Tuesday, January 18th. All practices, activities, and other district facilities will be cancelled from Sunday, January 16th through Tuesday, January 18th. All buildings will be closed, and no staff will be in the district buildings.
Lutz adds that over the past few days, including today, the teacher substitute fill rate has been under 50%. This means that more than half of open positions at the schools remain unfilled. These positions include transportation, food service, custodians, paraprofessionals, and other support staff.
The goal of the extended break is to give students and staff the time to rest and recover so they can return to school healthy.