Guilford County Schools to close schools for students May 16 over teacher absences

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County Schools will close schools for students on May 16 in the wake of nearly 2,000 confirmed teacher absences, according to a news release from the school system.

Thousands of teachers are expected to protest at the General Assembly in Raleigh on May 16 when lawmakers reconvene for the legislative short session.

During the planned rally, teachers from around the state plan to lobby the legislature for what they say are desperately needed new state dollars for underfunded school systems, WTVD reports.

“Despite our efforts throughout the weekend to find enough substitutes, including redeploying central office personnel, we’ve reached a tipping point where we won’t have enough teachers in place to operate schools safely or to ensure a high-quality instructional day for students,” Superintendent Dr. Sharon L. Contreras said in the release.

GCS has about 1,000 substitutes in its system.

May 16 will become an optional teacher workday for school personnel. Central offices will remain open and will operate on a regular schedule.

Advanced Placement testing for schools will move to the May 23 make-up day. International Baccalaureate (IB) testing, which occurs off site, will move forward as planned since no make-up days are allowed. Test coordinators will work with individual families to ensure all students have transportation to the IB test sites.

The district’s After-School Care Enrichment Services (ACES) program will be closed on May 16. Middle school athletics are canceled on May 16. High school athletics will move forward as planned.

May 16 will mark the ninth day out of school for GCS students, who have missed eight days due to inclement weather, including the recent tornado. Students at the three schools devastated by the tornado have missed three additional days of school. The district has made up two of these days.

Since the district will meet the state minimum requirement of 1,025 instructional hours without making-up the lost instructional time, GCS does not plan to add more make-up days to the end of the school year, barring any more unexpected events, the release said.

The last day for students on the traditional academic calendar is June 12.