Sonoma County schools report sharp uptick in student, staff absences in first week after holiday break

10 January 2022

When classroom bells echo Monday morning across Sonoma County, educators aren’t certain just how many students and school staffers will be present to hear them.

During the first week back in the classroom following winter break, Sonoma County schools experienced some of their most severe staff shortages of the academic year, along with double the number of student absences for some districts.

Last week’s spikes in student and employee absences were tied mostly to the surge in new COVID-19 omicron variant cases, which have spurred school officials to lean more heavily on backup resources and the flexibility honed throughout 22 months of pandemic pressure.

“I wouldn’t say we’re desperate,” said Mike Shepherd, assistant superintendent of human resources for Santa Rosa City Schools. “We had some challenges.

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