San Francisco Unified School District officials said this week they’re facing a shortage of teachers as dozens of positions remain vacant less than a week before all of the district’s schools are set to open for in-person learning.
During the SFUSD Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening, the district’s Chief Human Resources Officer Daniel Menezes said as of Tuesday, the district had 53 remaining vacancies, with at least 30 of the vacancies having been opened within the last two weeks.
“Staffing has been extremely difficult for us this summer and that is in line with what we’re seeing all over the country and even in some of our neighboring districts. … The team is working incredibly hard to fill every vacancy we can, but it seems like the teacher shortage we’ve talked about for a long time is really acute this year and we’re really feeling it I’m guessing in large parts because of COVID.”
Menezes said the shortages were mostly being seen in high schools, specifically in areas like special education and Spanish.
With all the district’s schools opening on Monday — some for the first time since the start of the pandemic — the need to fill the positions is crucial, he said.
“We’re notifying staff and asking for volunteers so that every so that every student has an adult in the classroom with them as we try to fill these remaining vacancies. We will deploy substitute teachers and additional staff as needed.”
“We’re going to do everything we can to close out these positions by the end of the week.”
The district is continuing to host hiring events and advertising on social media, among other efforts, to recruit more teachers. In addition, Menezes said the district is collaborating with United Educators of San Francisco, the teacher’s union that represents the district’s teachers, on recruitment strategies.
On top of the staffing woes, district officials are also working on putting last-minute safety measures into place, like vaccine requirements for teachers, as Covid-19 cases continue to surge both locally and nationally.