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Utah schools are collapsing under staff shortages. Here’s how one is trying to survive

With the Omicron variant raging, shuffling teachers and students around has become the norm.

(Jon Reed | KUER) Nicole Palmer meets with art teacher Laura McMahon, aka Mrs. Muffin.

It’s 7:55 a.m. on a Friday morning in early January, the first week back after the winter break. This is the last day of what’s been the craziest week in Nicole Palmer’s 11 years as principal of Rose Park Elementary School.

She’s been up for three hours already and now the kids at the school on Salt Lake City’s west side are starting to arrive.

“We have two counselors out — two of three — two teachers, the librarian,” Palmer said, taking stock of the day’s damage with Assistant Principal Tony Zani. He pointed out the school was missing its secretary too.

“We have our custodian back,” Palmer said on a hopeful note. “He was out yesterday.”

To read more about how Rose Park Elementary is handling staff shortages, visit KUER.org.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.

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