Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent, Addison Davis, says there are over 1,000 teacher vacancies in the district right now. By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent, Addison Davis, says there are over 1,000 teacher vacancies in the district right now.

Davis says about 400 of those absences are due to vacancies because of the national teacher shortage, but the rest are because of COVID-19 and other reasons.

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This comes as Omicron spreads across the state.

“We opened up our school day with over 1,000 instructional absences and we know that is a number that truly impacts children,” said Davis.

Brooke Elkins, a parent in the district, says “It’s really not a surprise, it’s absolutely terrible and terrifying, but it really isn’t a surprise.”

Davis says back when the Delta variant was going around, about 5,000 teachers were out per week.

“We are projected to have about 2,500 this week, so we are in a better spot, and we are prepared for this,” said Davis.

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Davis says the district is doing all it can to make sure students don’t fall behind.

“We determine who may have off a particular period so we can ask them and pay them if they are available to go in and transition to a classroom. Also we split up classrooms. If there is a classroom of ten kids, we may split of three kids in each classroom and one in another to make sure we have small availability for children to learn,” said Davis.

But parent, Matthew Skywalker, isn’t too happy about the situation.

“It’s kind of upsetting because kids are being lumped together and classrooms being doubled up,” said Skywalker.

Elkins says her child’s teacher is out until January 10… and she hopes the pandemic slows down so her student can get a consistent education.

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“Kids learn best when their teachers are in front of them,” said Elkins.