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Norwich Public Schools to be closed Friday due to staff shortages

Norwich — There will be no school Friday in Norwich Public Schools due to staff shortages, Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow announced Thursday night in a letter to families and staff and on Twitter.

Stringfellow said there are 133 staff members who have called in absent as of Thursday night but only 40 people to cover for them, including administrators, and "the number of absences is likely to increase significantly by the time school starts tomorrow morning."

The superintendent said the known absences include 56 teachers, 33 paraprofessionals, six registered behavior technicians, five social workers, four assistant principals, three nurses, two school counselors, one principal, one psychologist and one board-certified behavior analyst.

"It would not be safe for our students and staff to hold school tomorrow," Stringfellow wrote. "For the past two weeks, we have been using every resource at our disposal to cover the mass staff absences we have been experiencing. However, we do not have the personnel to cover this number of vacancies."

She said since only the governor can schedule remote learning days and she doesn't have that authority, this day will need to be made up in June.

The superintendent concluded, "I am truly sorry for the inconvenience this decision will create for child care coverage. Safety is our ultimate priority."

Norwich Free Academy is not part of Norwich Public Schools.

Other districts in the region and beyond have been struggling with staff shortages, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes the disease.

e.moser@theday.com

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