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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A perfect storm of quarantines, layoffs, retirements and resignations has public schools scrambling to get enough bodies to keep school afloat next semester.

Why it matters: Districts are desperate to keep classes going and are stretched thin by the sometimes competing needs of in-person and distance learning.

  • Public-school employment in November was down 8.7% from February, and at its lowest level since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some schools are even considering allowing COVID-positive, asymptomatic teachers to continue working, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Many are also aggressively recruiting substitute teachers, offering bonuses and waiving certification requirements, per AP.

Between the lines: Many states still haven't figured out where educators and school personnel should fit in the priority list for COVID vaccines.

In Washington, D.C.: A union agreement says teachers may be required to return to classrooms unless they have medical exemptions.

  • In Indiana and Connecticut, college students are answering the call to substitute teach and could be paid to help supervise classrooms.

The bottom line: The nationwide teacher shortage has left nothing but teachers with burnout, frustrated parents and even a lower education quality.

Go deeper: America's teachers are running on empty

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
30 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.