Malate269 via Wikimedia Commons

Virginia public schools are facing a crisis as the new school year is set to begin in late August, but schools are scrambling to address teacher vacancies as the new school year approaches.

In a recent letter to parents, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid said the district’s classrooms were 97% staffed.

“We are working hard to continue to fill those remaining vacancies and to ensure that we will have a licensed educator in every classroom,” Reid said.

For the schools that still have vacancies toward the end of summer, Reid said, parents and staff will get additional information about how the classes will be covered.

FCPS employs more than 15,000 educators in elementary, middle, and high school levels, according to its website. That would suggest that upward of 450 classrooms will be without teachers.

Fairfax County Federation of Teachers President David Walrod told FOX 5 DC math and reading coaches and tech specialists, among others, will likely be called upon to fill these vacancies.

“[I]t means teachers aren’t getting the support,” he said. “Students aren’t getting some of the specialized instruction.”

Alexandria City Public Schools is another district in Virginia that is suffering from a shortage of teachers. In a recent Twitter post, the district said there were still staffing vacancies that needed to be filled.

“The past two years were really difficult,” Walrod said. “With the COVID situation, you’re starting to see attacks on teachers by certain parts of the population, and teachers never get paid as much as comparable professionals in other fields get paid.” 

As we previously reported, schools around Northern Virginia have seen a massive surge in resignations from teachers, with many experts feeling that teacher burn out seems to be the primary cause for the mass resignations, but are unsure as to the root cause of this burnout. Whatever the reason, Virginia schools will need to figure out a solution as soon as possible, as the August start date looms.