GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Gaston County Schools will be closed for students on Wednesday, May 16, the day of a statewide teacher rally planned in Raleigh, and it will be an optional teacher workday.
Thousands of teachers from across North Carolina are planning to participate in an education advocacy rally in Raleigh on that day and this includes teachers from Gaston County.
According to a statement from Gaston County Schools, as of Friday, the school district has received more than 400 leave requests from employees for May 16, which officials say makes it extremely difficult to staff classrooms and provide proper instruction and supervision for students.
"The school district has a pool of approximately 300 people who serve as substitute teachers regularly. School leaders had hoped to rely on substitute teachers to keep school in session on May 16. However, the number of leave requests now exceeds the number of available substitute teachers," the statement read.
Students will not be required to make up the day missed on May 16 since there are enough instructional hours in the calendar to meet the state minimum of 1,025 hours.
Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker stated, "We realize that closing on May 16 interrupts our regular school schedule for students, employees, and parents. However, with such a high number of absences, it presents a significant challenge for us to provide an instructional environment that would be productive and orderly."
Gaston County school officials advised that certain previously-scheduled things will still happen on May 16 as planned.
- Advanced Placement (AP) exams for high school students will be given on May 16 as scheduled. The high schools will provide specific information to students. The College Board, which administers the AP exams, has encouraged school districts to maintain the testing schedule. This will ensure that scores are reported to colleges and universities on time.
- High school athletics (practices and state playoff games) will continue as scheduled.
So far, this is the list of schools that have also canceled class ahead of the teacher's march in Raleigh: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Union County Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, Alexander County Schools, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Stanly County Schools, Cabarrus County Schools, Hickory City Schools, Rowan-Salisbury Schools and Kannapolis City Schools.