“There have been times here or there where we’ve had people leave and we haven’t had subs, but it’s never been this long,” said a primary school teacher who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s worse now.”

The teacher told her school that reading and math facilitators – who work with students who are behind – and ELL teachers have had to drop what they would normally do to cover classrooms.

The number of classes teachers are being asked to cover is causing so much stress and burnout among staff at her school that some people are using sick days simply to take a break, she said.

And on Thursday, more than 100 students were absent from his school. In one classroom, where there are normally 22 students, there were only a healthy handful, she said.

At Maxey Elementary School, where 9% of students were absent due to illness Friday, there’s a whiteboard in the staff lounge that lists teachers who have left — and covers them.

“When you walk in and see 12 names and four positions filled, you know it’s this kind of ‘I’m going to put you here, and I’m going to put you here’ mole,” said kindergarten teacher Linda . Freya. “On a good day, we’re running out of substitutes, whether it’s guards, catering services. You put COVID on top of that, and it really makes our subcontract pool really dark.”