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OLATHE, Kan. – The Olathe School District announced Sunday afternoon it will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this week due to staffing issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the district, last Friday the district needed 400 substitutes. Even with the entire Learning Services department serving as subs in their buildings, they still had more than 100 unfilled positions.

In total, there were over 800 staff out sick, which is 20% of the entire staff. In addition to the staff sickness, they had over 1,500 student positive cases last week.

“By in large there’s no school in our district that isn’t pretty high,” Superintendent Brent Yeager said. “I think the lowest that lowest that we’ve experienced is 6% absentee right now.”

In order to make sure that they can provide enough time for staff and community to recover and return in good health they will be cancelling school on Tuesday, Jan. 18 and Wednesday, Jan. 19. The school were already closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

All schools and all support buildings will be closed, and staff will not report to work. Activities, athletics and facility rentals will be canceled.  

Students and staff will return on Thursday, Jan. 20.

Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools is also canceling classes on Tuesday and Wednesday as it faces similar staff shortages due to COVID-19.