Parents and students pick up backpacks filled with school supplies at the central administration offices of Adams 12 school district in Thornton, August 21, 2020. (Kevin Mohatt, Special to The Colorado Sun)

 Some Denver area schools are switching to remote learning or canceling classes this week because of staffing shortages.

Schools in the Adams 14, Boulder Valley, and Adams 12 Five Star districts will be closed Thursday for Veterans Day and will remain closed Friday because they cannot find enough substitute teachers and other staff, The Denver Post reported.

In Denver, one high school switched to remote learning starting Wednesday, warning that online classes could be extended through Nov. 19. Meanwhile, students in two other Denver Public Schools sites will have remote classes Thursday and Friday.

Schools have had trouble hiring enough school nurses and bus drivers, in addition to substitute teachers, this year. Some have also had to reduce food options during lunchtime because of supply chain problems.

In addition to not being able to fill vacancies, some Denver school employees are on leave to care for family members or are sick themselves, district spokesman Will Jones said.

“We are doing everything in our power to keep our schools open and to maximize in-person learning opportunities for our students,” he said. “At the same time, we are facing a critical staffing shortage, like districts across the country, that impacts our ability to safely operate our schools.”

Meanwhile, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero announced Wednesday the state’s largest district would begin Thanksgiving break a day early on Nov. 19, the Friday before the holiday week, so employees can have more time for their “health and self-care.”

In a letter to staff, Marrero referenced challenges teachers have faced since returning to in-person classes this fall, saying the school year has been “stressful and draining.”

“I know that there are frequently urgent staffing issues that schools are facing in order to keep their buildings open for in-person instruction, and I very much appreciate all of the efforts that have been made to continue serving scholars and families,” he said.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative, serving member newspapers and broadcasters in the U.S., and other customers around the world. The Colorado Sun is proud to be one of them. AP journalists in more...