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Two Virginia school districts are preparing to release students early on some Wednesdays in an effort to combat teacher burnout due to the ongoing pandemic.

The Virginia Beach City Public School board on Tuesday voted 9-1 to end classes two hours earlier seven Wednesdays over the next three months, NBC affiliate WAVY reported. The schedule is intended to allow teachers to “breathe” so that they can have uninterrupted time to prepare for class.

District spokeswoman Natalie Allen told NBC News the final plan will be shared with parents on Wednesday night.

“Our teachers are being asked to do more, to cover more, to cover the cafeterias, to cover the halls and to cover the classrooms of their colleagues more than they have ever done before,” said the superintendent. Aaron Spence. “They are not able to prepare for training.”

The district lacks nearly 100 teachers.

Suffolk Public Schools earlier this month called for a similar system.

The early layoff will begin in November and take place every two weeks on Wednesdays for the remainder of the school year, according to a district memo.

“Teachers and faculty have wasted valuable planning and professional development time due to the impact of COVID-19-related absences and coverage needs, quarantine educational support requirements and other circumstances.” , indicates the memo.

The results of a national survey of K-12 employees released earlier this year found that job satisfaction fell from 69% in March 2020 to 44% in October 2020. Of the roughly 3.5 million full-time and part-time public school teachers, 38% said working during the pandemic prompted them to consider changing jobs, according to the Center for State and Local Government Excellence report. The vast majority of those surveyed reported feeling stressed (63%), high levels of exhaustion / fatigue (54%) and significant anxiety (47%) at work due to the pandemic.

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