‘Hit us exceptionally hard:’ Local district reveals why schools were closed Monday

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STOW, Ohio (WJW) – Classes in the Stow-Munroe Falls School District remained closed on Monday, the day parents in the district expected students to return after a Thanksgiving break.

Instead parents were notified early Monday that the district would remain closed because of a staffing shortage.

Superintendent Tom Bratten explained to Fox 8 News in an email that multiple challenges combined to force the decision.

“As with most areas, the illness bug, COVID and everything else right now, it’s hitting our area hard and our district is no exception. This morning, it hit us exceptionally hard across the district,” explained Bratten.

The district’s Covid-19 dashboard shows a small number -19 active cases among staff and students in the district’s nine buildings, in addition to four students and staff in quarantine.

Seasonal colds and flu and additional factors made transportation among the greatest challenges according to the superintendent. 

“We found ourselves in the position of not being able to get all of our students to school even remotely close to on time, even with doubling up routes, because of the vast shortage of substitutes we’re all dealing with in the school systems right now,” Bratten said in his email.

Parents who spoke with Fox 8 News on Monday were taking everything in stride.

“They get to stay home from school and it’s a good day to be out in the snow, so taking advantage of it,” said Dan Misitigh, who took his children sledding outside of the high school.

“There’s been speculation that it was more the bus drivers because teachers aren’t permitted to take a personal day the day after a holiday, but I don’t know for sure,” said Karen Marando. “It’s nothing like last year. At least they get to go to school now. Last year, was just two days a week and three days home so it’s nice that you can actually go to school,” said Derek Baker.

Administrators were also not in their offices on Monday when Fox 8 stopped at the district headquarters.

“We hope to be able to be back on track tomorrow and that this was just an anomaly, as this has not happened to us before,” explained Bratten.

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