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Teachers in a classroom. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Two Virginia school districts have announced early departure plans for students on select Wednesdays as a way to alleviate ongoing teacher stress and fatigue due to the pandemic.

Driving the news: The Virginia Beach Public School board voted on Tuesday to end classes two hours early on select Wednesdays for at least the next three months, according to Aaron Spence, the superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

  • Suffolk Public Schools also announced earlier this month that students will be dismissed early every other Wednesday starting Nov. 10 through the rest of the school year, according to Anthonette J. Ward, the community engagement officer for the school district.

The big picture: The announcements come as teachers across the nation are increasingly burned out and stepping down from their roles due to persistent stress from the pandemic.

  • "Our teachers are being asked to do more, to cover more, to cover cafeterias, to cover hallways and to cover their colleagues’ classrooms more so than they ever have before," Spence said, per NBC News. "They are not able to prepare for instruction."
  • The Virginia Beach Public School board is approximately 94 teachers short, which, according to Spence, is "something we've never experienced before."

What they're saying: "The one goal during these early release dates is to give teachers back planning time," Suffolk Public Schools superintendent John B. Gordon III said in a statement.

  • "If the planning time is not there, the achievement will suffer, classroom management issues will go up."

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Nov 29, 2021 - Axios Denver

Aurora schools confront rising gun violence among teens

People gather outside Hinkley High School in Aurora after three people were shot in the school parking lot. Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Crisis response teams for Aurora Public Schools are reacting today to Hinkley High School after the third shooting involving teenagers in just two weeks.

  • Superintendent Rico Munn tells Chalkbeat, our education reporting partner, that rising crime is "a growing crisis in our community."

Axios Visuals Deep Dive: Pandemic eating

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A food revolution began pre-pandemic and COVID has only accelerated that. See how America's food industry is transforming, from farm to your table.

Abrams’ campaign manager rules out 2024 run if she wins governor's race

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

In her first major interview since the official announcement, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo quashed speculation that the Georgia Democrat would interrupt a theoretical gubernatorial term to run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has come up repeatedly as a top 2024 Democratic contender given President Joe Biden's age and Vice President Kamala Harris's low favorability rating.

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