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Some Vermont school districts warn about staffing shortages

Mary Beth Porter, a fourth-grade teacher at Academy School in Brattleboro, Vt., asks her class questions in September.
Mary Beth Porter, a fourth-grade teacher at Academy School in Brattleboro, Vt., asks her class questions in September.Kristopher Radder/Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. — More than a dozen Vermont school districts say they are stretched thin and need to fill 100 positions to be fully staffed to return to full in-person learning.

Leaders in the 16 districts that cover the counties of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle are urging people to consider applying, warning that there will likely be a delay in bringing students back full time if the positions aren’t filled, mychamplainvalley.com reported.

“I think it’s very fragile right now,” said Winooski School District Superintendent Sean McMannon. "That’s why we’re reaching out and basically appealing to our communities, otherwise we will either have to stop our plans where they are, or we may have to backtrack.”

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A lack of personnel is causing logistical challenges, said Superintendent Lynn Cota of the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union.

“We’re kind of a desert,” she said. “We have positions that are still open for professional staff that we have no candidates for, or maybe one or two non-licensed or non-qualified candidates.”

Amy Rex, superintendent of the Milton Town School District, said health and safety guidelines have changed the way schools operate.

“We can’t go without those support staff people if we continue to increase our numbers,” she said. “Typically, all students go to the cafeteria at the same time, and then you have two supervisors who supervise lunch. Now, every classroom has to have lunch supervision… We’re just figuring out how to put the puzzle pieces together.”