NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For many kids in Connecticut, the new school year starts in about a week and a half. Every year, before school starts, Connecticut’s commissioner of education gets district superintendents from all over the state to talk about the significant issues in education.

This year, there is one issue that stands out for everyone.

“We are still currently looking at quite a number of classroom vacancies with only a few days to go,” New Haven Schools Superintendent Dr. Madeline Negron said.

New Haven is looking at 84 classroom vacancies now and hopes to hire a few more teachers in the next few days. Staffing struggles are also hitting wealthier towns.

“Particularly in our support staff like para-educators and food services, but bus drivers, as well,” said Jan Perruccio, the superintendent of Old Saybrook Schools. “And, we struggle to hire teachers in a way that we never did before.”

The state is polling teachers to learn more about how to support them better and meet their needs, but this is a national issue.

“Maybe what’s different here in Connecticut is that we have from the governor to all our partners, and our department, working very, very hard to try to address these issues,” Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said.

Those staffing shortages are serious, but at least they are easy to quantify. What is harder to see is the lingering impact of the pandemic on students who had to spend all those months not going to school. Remote learning took a toll academically and socially, especially in urban districts.

“We took advantage of the summer to do a lot of activities to re-engage them through the summer of fun program, re-engaging and connecting with the families,” Negron said.

Some districts have altered their teaching approach for students, still adjusting.

“We’ve had to change the way we do business in some ways to make schools very attractive to students, to make the classroom very friendly to students, and we’re learning,” Perruccio said.

This means they are still learning how best to teach while struggling to find teachers.