Virginia school districts struggling to fill teacher vacancies as first day approaches

Public schools in Virginia are set to begin the new school year in late August

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Virginia school districts 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. 

Students prepare to enter class on the first day back to school in northern Virginia.

Students prepare to enter class on the first day back to school in northern Virginia. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

"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

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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." 

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Virginia public schools are scheduled to begin the new school year in late August.