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OLATHE, Kan. — Superintendent of Olathe Public Schools Dr. Brent Yeager says the district is about 65 staff absences away from having to cancel school.

Yeager said the number of teachers requesting substitutes is the highest the district has ever seen with the number of requests topping 400.

In 2021 when schools came back after winter break, the district had three unfilled substitute teacher positions. This year, that number is above 70.

“We all know the best place for our kids to be is right in our schools so we will continue to work hard and make that the case,” Yeager said at the district’s board meeting on Thursday.

Multiple school districts in the Kansas City Metro area canceled class on Friday due to staff shortages and COVID-19 cases.

Even though the schools in the district remain open, Yeager recommends parents have a back-up plan in the event they have to shut down.

In 2021, the Kansas legislature passed a bill limiting schools to providing 40 hours of remote learning to any student enrolled.