Breaking News
More () »

Staffing shortage due to illness closes Mona Shores Public Schools on Friday

During the closure, school officials say they will be deep cleaning all schools.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Mona Shores Public Schools will be closed Friday due to a staffing shortage caused by an illness outbreak.

The school announced the closure on Facebook Thursday evening, saying that they "simply do not have the staff to fill our classrooms".

During the closure, school officials say they will be deep cleaning all schools.

Closed to students ahead of the weekend, it made for a quieter than usual afternoon at Mona Shores High School, with custodial staff performing a district-wide deep clean.

“We want to keep our doors open. We want our kids here. And we know our families count on that,” Superintendent Bill O’Brien related. “Just looking at the numbers for today, there was just not a way we can make it happen… we run into what I think most districts are dealing with.”

O’Brien alluded to lingering labor shortages, both specific to education and true of the broader market.

The typical wave of illness-related absences which occurs on a seasonal basis has been complicated by ongoing national shortfalls.

The deficit entails fewer teachers on the payroll and limited flexibility to make up the difference.

Substitute teachers also remain in short supply, partially, O’Brien said, because they’re now being tapped to fill full-time spots on staff.

“That pool is now much, much shallower, and districts are fighting for the same shallow pool,” he noted. “There are times that we can take care of it internally, that taxes our teachers a bit. We don't like to do that.”

In the short-term, O’Brien described a balancing act. Long-term, there remained room for a potential bright spot.

“I do see that light on the horizon,” he suggested. “It is getting better. The state is putting some money behind, grow your own programs and things like that, that are really going to help in a couple of years… I think everyone's moving in the right direction. So, I’m pretty excited about what the future holds.”

All after school and weekend activities are still set to take place. However, the Sailor Celebration at the middle school has been postponed until Dec. 16.

Preschool and daycare at Ross Park Elementary will remain open.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@13onyourside.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Before You Leave, Check This Out