Las Vegas principal says he teaches classes, cleans school as staffing shortages worsen

A Las Vegas elementary school principal told “Fox & Friends” Wednesday he’s been helping to teach classes and do janitorial work because of a worsening labor shortage.

“When we are short of substitute teachers, short-staffed with support staff, custodial, then my job is to just to step in when needed,” said Woolley Elementary School principal Joseph Uy, adding that his job is to be an “instructional leader” and make sure the school’s teachers are equipped to perform at a high level.

Uy said that he had to step up on vacuuming hallways before and after school and take out trash.

“At school, we have accepted that the mindset is all hands on deck. Wherever there are holes, whoever is available fills in for that particular task,” he said.


On top of the labor shortage, school literacy specialist Shawina Tims said pandemic school shutdowns had a negative impact on students.

A “closed” sign in front of a public elementary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan in March 2020. Michigan closed all schools in an effort to thwart the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Tims noticed students who had attended kindergarten remotely “lost their foundational skills” as they transitioned to first grade. She added the virtual learning program “was hard for elementary students.”

The recent Thanksgiving break was extended for hundreds of thousands of public school students across the country, as the number of educators in schools dipped below critical mass. The situation has become so dire that some districts are considering walking back previous COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff.

In Western Michigan, 20 schools canceled classes for the entirety of the week. 

Classrooms in Chicago’s District 65 were also shuttered leading up to the holiday. Students in Montgomery County, Maryland, will have an extra day off this week, while the public school system is now modifying its vaccination policy to soften staffing issues. 


The Montgomery County School District tells Fox News that the 463 staff members who have not attested to their vaccination status will have to do so or risk loss of pay on Nov. 24 plus progressive disciplinary action, “up to and including termination.” 

Rather than immediate termination, it’s a “balancing act between safety and the need to have all employees in place for school and office operations.” This comes as districts nationwide are attempting to cope with a massive void in teachers and substitutes in the classroom.

Fox News’ Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.

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