TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis says there are over 1,000 vacancies in the district right now.
Davis says about 400 of those absences are due to vacancies due to the national shortage of teachers, but the rest are due to COVID-19 and other reasons.
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This comes as Omicron spreads across the state.
“We opened our school day with over 1,000 tuition absences, and we know that’s a number that really affects children,” Davis said.
Brooke Elkins, a parent in the district, says “It really is not a surprise, it’s absolutely horrible and scary, but it really is not a surprise.”
Davis says at the time the Delta variant was going around, there were about 5,000 teachers out a week.
“We’re expected to have about 2,500 this week, so we’re in a better place, and we’re prepared for that,” Davis said.
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Davis says the district is doing everything it can to make sure students do not fall behind.
“We decide who can have a certain period of time off, so we can ask them and pay them if they are available to go in and switch to a classroom. We also divide classrooms up. If there is a classroom of ten children “We can split three children into each classroom and one into another to ensure we have small vacancies for children to learn,” Davis said.
But parent, Matthew Skywalker, is not so happy about the situation.
“It’s a little disturbing because kids are getting lumped together and classrooms are being doubled,” Skywalker said.
Elkins says her child’s teacher is out until January 10 … and she hopes the pandemic is slowed down so her student can get a consistent education.
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“Kids learn best when their teachers are in front of them,” Elkins said.