JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of Duval County Public Schools teachers did not make it to their classrooms for the first day of school.
The call-outs are straining school operations even further as hundreds of vacancies already exist district-wide.
In total, at least 96 teachers called out Tuesday, DCPS’ first day back since the summer break.
Last year, 80 teachers called out for the first day, a notable increase. It was followed by protests over the return to in-person learning. Virtual learning; however, is not at all an option for teachers and students this year.
Pointing to that, school officials said the absences in 2020 or this year do not suggest there is a COVID-19 outbreak among teachers.
The district currently has 289 vacant classroom teaching positions and 32 vacant support positions. For perspective, DCPS employed 7,162 teachers in the 2020-2021 school year.
The district relaunched its COVID Dashboard Tuesday. It currently lists only two new positive cases -- one student at Twin Lakes Elementary and one staffer at Sandalwood High School.
Outside of the staff absences, the first day of school in Duval County looked much different than last year.
Students can opt-out of wearing a mask this year. So far, more than 6,900 have taken that option.
News4Jax is working to learn the number of students who may have called out for the first day as well.