The United Federation of Teachers, a union representing most teachers in New York City’s public schools, estimates that 2,000 to 2,500 educators need to be hired for the city's middle and high schools.
"New York City's Department of Education is working to have a qualified teacher for every classroom, whether in-person or remote," a UFT spokesperson told CNN.
The union says social distancing requirements are the main reason why additional hires are needed — not teacher retirements — saying that a class of 28 students now has to be divided into smaller cohorts of 8-10 students to follow social distancing guidelines.
Where the school system once needed one teacher for those 28 students, it now needs 3-4 teachers depending on the size of the classrooms, UFT said.
The teacher union said 4,500 teachers have already been redeployed or hired to fill vacancies in the city’s early and special education programs that began their in-person learning last Monday. The rest of New York City’s students began the school year fully remote with expectations of a phased in-person opening this week.