Kansas school district closing for two wellness days, giving overwhelmed staff a break

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LANSING, Kan. — The Lansing School District approved to have two additional days off leading to Thanksgiving break.

The Lansing USD 469 Board of Education approved the two additional days off on November 22 and November 23 during its November 8 regular meeting.

The decision was based on the recommendation of Superintendent Dan Wessel who recommended the two wellness days based on feedback he received from staff.

Public schools have struggled for years with teacher shortages, particularly in math, science, special education and languages. But the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. The stress of teaching in the COVID-19 era has triggered a spike in retirements and resignations. Schools also need to hire staffers like tutors and special aides to make up for learning losses and more teachers to run online school for those not ready to return.

Several schools nationwide have had to shut classrooms because of a lack of teachers.

“Districts around the nation are seeing employees getting burnt out like never before, and Lansing is no exception,” the district said Tuesday.

“We realize our staff has been presented with an overwhelming amount of responsibility this school year amid the ongoing pandemic,” Wessel said. “We feel it is important to recognize the stress they have been put under and feel the time off will allow them time to rest, recharge, and come back ready to tackle the weeks leading up to winter break.”

The school district said it will be using two potential snow days to account for the days off. If the school district reaches the maximum number of snow days it will make them up before the end of the year.

The school district is also offering child care at no charge for families that need it during those two days.

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