Charles Hay school in Englewood closed until Friday following illnesses, teacher shortage

About 20% of students were out sick as of Monday

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Charles Hay World School in Englewood closed Monday after rising cases of COVID-19 and another, unidentified illness among students and staff. 

The school will reopen Friday, according to district spokesperson Julie McMorris, and teachers are currently working on remote lessons while students are home. 

According to McMorris, about 20% of the elementary school's 350 students were absent due to illness as of Monday, which McMorris said was from COVID-19 as well as a gastrointestinal illness, "making it hard to keep a safe learning environment," she said. 

"Our plan is to give everyone some time to recover, do some cleaning and disinfecting of the building," McMorris said. 

The issue was also exacerbated by a shortage of substitute teachers in the school. McMorris said that as of yesterday, nine staff members were absent with only two substitutes available. 

Per Tri-County Health and CDC guidelines, students and staff who test positive for COVID will have to quarantine for five days after testing positive. After five days, they will be allowed to return to school but will need to wear a mask for another five. They will not be required to test again. 

Charles Hay's temporary closure is not an uncommon decision for district staff to make as the COVID pandemic, other illnesses and teacher shortages continue to force schools to pivot operations. McMorris said that in early April, Bishop Elementary School closed for a few days due to similar circumstances. 

"We understand that these kinds of remote days are really hard for parents to accommodate, but our goal is obviously to have the safest and best learning environment as possible," McMorris said. "If we can't adequately staff our schools, we can't have a safe learning environment."

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