LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County School District teachers and staff are burnt out, leading to a high number of absences on Fridays and, with the lack of substitutes, causing other staff to pick up the pieces, a review by the 8 News Now I-Team found.

The I-Team looked at staff absences starting after the 5-day pause in January. The school closures were meant to combat both coronavirus and fatigue. As part of their union contract, teachers earn 15 sick days a school year. The days can roll over into the next year and beyond.

8 News Now previously spoke to a teacher who retired after 31 years and had earned more than 300 unused sick days, but according to the negotiated agreement by the school district and the union, only 100 of those days were paid out. Teachers said the district is offering $5 per unused day at retirement.

From mid-January through mid-May, more than 11% of CCSD staff were out on average on Fridays. The next day with the most staff absences is Monday with nearly 9% of staff out on average.

From mid-January through mid-May, more than 11% of CCSD staff were out on average on Fridays. (KLAS)

The data provided by CCSD is broken up into sick time, personal leave, vacation and other categories. Most of the time off is made up of regular sick time, data showed.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, more than 7% of staff were out on average.

“It’s really hard to be in a classroom right now,” one teacher who did not want to be identified told the I-Team. Many teachers said they did not want to speak on camera about the issue due to retaliation.

“It’s really difficult at the moment, it really is,” the teacher said, citing the transition to in-classroom learning and as CCSD seeks an influx of student-on-teacher violence. “We do have a lot of support from our admin, they are great, it is just a lot of pressure. It is really hard to get things done.”

“Are there staff that are just habitually out on Mondays and Fridays?” the I-Team’s David Charns asked the teacher.

“I just know there’s a lot of people out,” the teacher replied.

On April 29, the day with the most staff out in the 4-month period reviewed, nearly 15% were out. (KLAS)

Adding to the problem, covering other teachers’ classrooms means time is taken away to do the tasks teachers are obligated to complete: duties like lesson planning, grading and data input. Staff are paid when they cover a colleague’s shift.

“Half an hour after school until our contract time is not enough for us all to sit together and do what we’re supposed to be doing,” the teacher said.

Nevada only requires a high school diploma for substitute teachers. Last year, the CCSD Board of Trustees increased the pay of substitutes from $90 to $110 a day.

On average, about a third of staff are covered when they are out, sick or not.

Nine out of the top 10 days with the most staff out were on Fridays. One in 10 staff was out of the building on Fridays, the majority calling out sick. On April 29, the day with the most staff out in the 4-month period reviewed, nearly 15% were out. (KLAS)

“Not having teachers in the classroom obviously affects the kids, but like I said, my kids’ school did not start fully staffed this year,” Brittney Davis, a CCSD parent, said.

Davis does not blame teachers for having to take time off, especially if they are sick, adding many employees are now just able to see a doctor as issues with the teachers’ health insurance are worked out. Doctors have dropped the Teacher Health Trust over complaints the health insurance was not paying bills.

“They just do not have people there to cover things, so the teachers are getting stressed out for the additional work they have to do, on top of all the additional requirements from the school district,” Davis said.

Nine out of the top 10 days with the most staff out were on Fridays. One in 10 staff was out of the building on Fridays, the majority calling out sick. On April 29, the day with the most staff out in the 4-month period reviewed, nearly 15% were out.

To compare, the top 10 days with the most staff at work were mainly Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara visits Dana Dyer and her students as she teaches an online seventh-grade algebra class from her empty classroom at Walter Johnson Junior High School on the first day of distance learning for the CCSD amid the spread of the coronavirus on August 24, 2020. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“Are they burnt out?” 8 News Now’s John Langeler asked CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara during a recent interview on “Politics Now.”

“Absolutely, they’re tired, everybody’s tired,” Jara said. “If teachers are tired, our kids are going to be tired, our staff is tired, right? It is, how do we then take away some of these things that are lingering to help them stay focused on their students?”

Jara said his team was working to curb the number of vacancies and absences, citing bonuses for retention and recruitment. Now at the end of the school year, the level of burnout is real, and the work has piled on.

“Whether it be on a Monday or Friday or any day of the week, it just takes that time away from us,” the unidentified teacher said.

Students protest to return to the classroom and play sports in 2021. (KLAS)

A report released in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, found out of 5,000 school districts, “Fridays tend to have higher absence rates and lower fill rates.” The “National Employee Absence & Substitute Data Report” found the average fill rate, the percentage of staff covered when out, was double the percentage at CCSD.

A report from the U.S. Labor of Bureau Statistics found the median number of carryover sick days for a private-sector worker was 15 compared to 125 for a state or government employee.

Many teachers who messaged the I-Team in preparation for this report said they can use their sick time as they wish and that the district needed to do more to hire substitutes and staff.