NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — A school district in Idaho has canceled school next Monday due to a teacher shortage after hundreds called out in sick in protest of in-person instruction during the pandemic.

The West Ada School District in the Boise metropolitan area made the announcement to cancel on Friday and said there were not enough substitute teachers to cover for the absences.

The announcement said that out of 2,145 classroom teachers, 652 have called in sick, leaving the school district with 500 unfilled positions.

West Ada Education Association President Eric Thies said Thursday that teachers would perform a ‘sickout’ demonstration if the district did not revert to full remote learning.

The district is currently in a hybrid model for middle school and high school students in which in-person instruction occurs occasionally. The district said it would move elementary students into the hybrid system beginning next Monday.

“Principals, administration, teachers and staff worked hard to cover the absences, but unfortunately, we cannot,” the district said in a statement. “With safety in mind, and due to supervision concerns, we are regretfully unable to hold school Monday. We will reassess the situation on Monday and give parents, guardians and staff an update.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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