Niles schools to go remote Thursday, Friday due to transportation shortage

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

NILES — Due to a transportation staffing shortage, Niles Community Schools will switch to remote learning Thursday and Friday.

In a Wednesday letter from Niles Community Schools superintendent Dan Applegate, students and parents were notified the lack of drivers does not allow for the district to continue proper transportation for students, who are expected to participate in their regular school schedule using the technology devices the district has provided.

“Niles Community Schools remains committed to the academic, social and emotional journeys of our students,” Applegate wrote. “As you are likely aware, school districts across the country are finding themselves amid a staffing crisis. Unfortunately, Niles is not immune to the effects of this current shortage. … We apologize for the inconvenience and understand the burden that this causes for families. This decision was not made lightly as we understand the importance of in-person learning for our students.”

According to the letter, free lunch will be provided at Niles High School from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for all district students on both days with no identification required. All extracurricular activities will continue as scheduled.

Applegate added that he expects the remote learning process to go well because of the district’s previous experiences with the pandemic.

“Since we have been forced to switch to remote learning in the past due to challenges presented by the pandemic, we expect the transition over the next two days will go smoothly, helping us maintain a continuity of learning and minimizing the disruption to students’ academic wellbeing,” he said.

Applegate reminded parents to charge their child’s devices to prepare them for remote learning Thursday.

Across county lines, Edwardsburg Public Schools announced Wednesday that its district is also experiencing driver shortages due to illness and other circumstances.

Superintendent Jim Knoll advised that due to the shortage, the district could be closed on short notice and encouraged parents to have a backup plan for their child’s supervision should schools close.

“At Edwardsburg Public Schools, the health and safety of our students is our highest concern and will not be compromised,” Knoll said.