The coronavirus pandemic combined with an ongoing nationwide shortage of qualified educators has created a perfect storm in the U.S. education system that may worsen in the months to come, CNBC’s Kate Rogers reports.

As of September, public K-12 education employment is more than half a million jobs below its year-ago levels, and 890,000 below where it would have to be to keep up with growth in student enrollment since 2008, The Economic Policy Institute reports.

Educators, as well as counselors, teaching assistants, roles in special education, food service, janitors and more, are being forced to make tough decisions about their own health and safety, and that of their family members, simply by going to work. Fear of contracting the virus is driving many to retire early, exacerbating the shortage. 



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