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Staff shortage to blame for North Island school closure

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a school serving hundreds of students on North Vancouver Island is temporarily closing its doors due to a lack of staff.

In a letter to parents, guardians and caregivers, School District 85 (SD85) said North Island Secondary School in Port McNeill would be “functionally closed” today, Jan. 21.

“This closure is due to the shortage of staff and the inability to cover these staff shortages to provide the required level of instruction, safety and supervision of our students,” stated Principal Jen Turner and Superintendent Christina MacDonald.

The joint letter said teachers are expected to provide online instruction by Monday, Jan. 24, should the closure extend into next week.

“We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend,” Turner and MacDonald said.

“Updates regarding a return to school or possible extension of the functional closure will be determined according to our ability to staff the school appropriately.”

According to SD85, families will be notified through the school’s messenger system by 3 pm on Sunday regarding return to school plans for Monday.

“We recognize this is a stressful time for students, families and staff,” the school district added, as it thanked the community for its patience and understanding.

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