COVINGTON, Ky. — Heading into the new school year, many Kentucky schools will face the challenge of having less than their preferred number of teachers on staff. It’s been a problem schools have faced for years now, and it affects students.

What You Need To Know

  • Teacher shortages are affecting schools across Kentucky

  • Holy Family School in Covington announced it won't open this school year because of a lack of teachers

  • The owner of the Huntington Learning Center in Crescent Springs says she is constantly trying to find teachers

  • She says the teacher shortage can lead to hectic days in the classroom

There won’t be classes at all at Holy Family School in Covington. That’s something parents just learned from a letter sent out to them on July 29.

The Diocese of Covington announced it was suspending operations for this school year because of a shortage of teachers. Students were scheduled to be back on August 16.

The families of the 42 students who would’ve gone to school there now have to figure out where they’re going with school set to start in two weeks.

The owner of a learning center in northern Kentucky, facing her own staffing challenges, said she wasn’t surprised.

There are hectic days. And then there are less hectic days at the Huntington Learning Center in Crescent Springs. Sometimes owner Ana Christow even has to step in to teach. One thing she’s always doing is looking for new teachers.

“We are really short, and I mean, the phonics teachers are very hard to find at this point,” Christow said. “Sometimes they just give up because they’re very tired. I mean, they’re overwhelmed. We need to cover all of those teachers, but there are no teachers to cover. So we’re really struggling with teachers at this point.”

The learning center helps students who may be a little behind and also helps improve standardized testing scores.

“We help students with academic skills from kindergarten to 12th grade, and we have different programs,” Christow said. “We tailor a program for the student based on their needs. So we close those gaps, and bring them to the level where they have to be.”

She hires teachers part time who might need a job during the summer or some supplemental income to come help kids after school during the school year.

But just like many schools, Christow has had a hard time lately finding those teachers.

“We spend a lot of money trying to find teachers, and they’re not coming,” she said. “They apply but they don’t even come for their interviews.”

The news that Holy Family School would not open did not come as a shock to Christow.

“It is not a surprise for me that they’re not opening. You can look for all the schools around the area, everybody’s looking for teachers,” she said. “It is very hard to teach students who are behind.”

Christow said the setbacks created by the pandemic years have made it difficult for teachers to get kids caught up.

“We’re still closing those gaps,” she said.

Despite everything, she’s proud of the impact the teachers who are there make.

“We change lives. That’s what we do,” she said. “There are days that we don’t have teachers, and you’re struggling because you don’t have those teachers. But the next day, when you see those students making smiles, and see their report cards, it’s like ‘ok, I need to keep going. I need to keep looking for those teachers.”’

The parents of kids who were set to go to Holy Family School now have the option of sending them to other catholic schools within the diocese. or sending them to public school.

The school hopes to be able to reopen in the future.