New Tool Can Help Address Teacher Shortages Due to COVID-19 Exposure

With built-in safety measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, more young people are returning to their classrooms every day. But are there enough teachers available to teach them?

In some cases, when teachers aren’t able to teach in person because of COVID-19 exposure, principals and even district superintendents have had to provide students with in-person instruction. In other cases, students whose teachers must teach remotely are relegated to gyms or cafeterias to learn online, defeating the purpose of going to school in person. Until large percentages of teachers are fully vaccinated, schools may remain vulnerable to unexpected teacher shortages resulting from COVID-19 exposure.

A team of data analytics experts at Mathematica developed a new, online tool to address these teacher shortages. The tool is available free of charge.

Mathematica’s new tool estimates the percentage of teachers in a district or school who will need to stay home on a typical day because they are quarantining or have been exposed to the virus. By forecasting shortages and securing enough staff to address them, districts can keep more students interacting with peers and teachers in person and keep school and district leaders focused on their essential leadership responsibilities.

Additional context about using the tool, including how to apply the estimates into the decision-making process, is available in this blog post by tool developer Hanley Chiang.