SAN FRANCISCO — Schools have welcomed students back to classrooms but face a new challenge: A shortage of teachers and staff the likes of which some district officials say they’ve never seen.
Public schools have struggled for years with teacher shortages, but the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. One school official in California calls it “the most acute shortage of labor” he’s ever seen.
Similar scenarios are playing out across the country as schools cope with a spike in retirements and a need to hire more teachers, counselors, tutors and aides to help children make up for learning losses.
The lack of teachers is “really a nationwide issue and definitely a statewide issue,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, president of California’s State Board of Education.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Biden doubling vaccine purchase, calls for more global shots
— CDC panel considers who needs booster shots
— United Airlines says 97% of US-based workers fully vaccinated
— Covid-19 creates dire US shortage of teachers, school staff
— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana reported its 16th child death from Covid-19 on Wednesday.
The state health department says the victim was between the ages of 12 and 17. No other details were released. It was the seventh pediatric death from the disease since July. Another child’s death was reported five days ago.
The state reported a total of 99 new Covid-19-related deaths Wednesday.
The latest hospitalization figure was 1,221, much higher than the spring and early summer, but down from a peak of more than 3,000 in August.
CHICAGO — United Airlines officials say 97% of its U.S. employees are fully vaccinated.
There’s less than a week to go before United employees face a deadline to get the shots or get fired. The Chicago-based airline with 67,000 U.S. employees is among a group of companies that announced they would require vaccinations.
The airline says a small number of employees are seeking a medical or religious exemption from vaccination. Employees who get an exemption will be placed on leave starting Oct. 2 and could eventually come back. However, they might have to wear a mask and undergo weekly testing for the coronavirus.
The airline said last month that up to 90% of pilots and nearly 80% of flight attendants were vaccinated. It didn’t give a companywide figure at the time.
United Airlines workers who apply unsuccessfully for an exemption will have five weeks after their denial to get vaccinated.
CHICAGO — The Rev. Jesse Jackson is headed home a month after he was hospitalized for a breakthrough Covid-19 infection and following intensive physical therapy for Parkinson’s disease.
A spokeswoman for Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition confirmed Wednesday the civil rights leader left a downtown Chicago facility.
He and his wife, Jacqueline, were first hospitalized a month ago for Covid-19. While Jesse Jackson was vaccinated, his wife was not because of what he described as a pre-existing condition. She required oxygen and was briefly in the intensive care unit before being released earlier this month.
After about a one-week hospital stay, 79-year-old Jesse Jackson was transferred to a physical therapy hospital. He disclosed a Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2017.
PHOENIX — Arizona reported more than 70 Covid-19 deaths for the second consecutive day and the fifth time this month.
There were 2,106 coronavirus cases and 74 confirmed deaths on Wednesday. The Covid-19 hospitalizations remained below 2,000 for the fifth straight day, with 1,897 coronavirus patients occupying hospital beds on Tuesday.
While the pace of additional cases has dropped during the past two weeks, the rate of deaths rose, according to Johns Hopkins University.