Roanoke County Public Schools working on labor shortages

ROANOKE, Va. – A report from the Virginia Department of Education shows there were over 3,500 teacher vacancies for the 2022-2023 school year.

“It’s been more difficult to hire,” said Jodilee Edsall, Roanoke County Public Schools associate director of human resources. “However, we are seeing ... a turn that is going on.”

Labor shortages have been no stranger since the COVID-19 pandemic. One major area of the shortages has been in school systems.

Roanoke County school officials said this shortage can have an impact on kids’ learning development

“We still try to keep ours small but that will impact when class sizes get bigger,” said Edsall. “It impacts kids with learning because they don’t get the attention they need necessarily.”

Roanoke County school officials said this year, they are not nearly as short on teachers but they are in need of other positions.

“We have almost every one filled,” said Edsall. “We still have some openings in transportation, for bus drivers and bus aides. Still have openings for nutrition, for nutrition associates.”

Edsall said this year, they are working to hold onto employees and that retention from year to year is most important for success.

“The retention of people staying is huge because then everybody [knows] the routine. Kids know the familiarity of people showing up,” said Edsall. “When the school bus driver opens up the bus they’re like ‘Oh I know you, I remember you!’ and that’s really good to start off their whole day with.”

Officials said this year was an improvement from the past, and they’re working to keep this trend going.