Citing staff shortages and the mental health of staff and faculty, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is canceling classes on Monday and Tuesday, giving students a longer Thanksgiving break than planned.
District leadership announced the decision in a letter posted online Friday explaining the district doesn't have adequate staffing or substitute teacher coverage to "provide the necessary care or to support high quality learning next week."
"We believe this is a result of educators and support staff needing to rest and focus on mental health and also to tend to their own families," the letter from Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton stated.
Horton explained the district is aware the move "may put working families in a bind" and it attempted to connect with childcare providers and community partners, but they were unable to provide assistance because of their own staff shortages.
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
As a result of the cancellations, the 2021-2022 school year will be extended by two instructional days. The last day of school for K-8 students will be Wednesday, June 8, and the final day for students at the Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Education Center will be June 6.
Horton added the district hopes "our community can both respect and understand the unique circumstances of this situation and those we all continue to face."
"We know our staff, families, and students are all doing their best," he said. "Stress is causing burnout and people are juggling personal and professional responsibilities, and a myriad of challenges catalyzed by the pandemic."