PERKINS, Okla. (KFOR) – Just 6 days into the new school year and already some students in an Oklahoma school district are moving to virtual learning.

Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School is making the move because 30 staff members are out with covid district wide.

“As much as we would love to wish the COVID virus away, it is still here, it is still prevalent and it’s going to cause disruptions,” said Katherine Bishop, President of the Oklahoma Education Association. 

Bishop says this is the second school district in Oklahoma she’s heard of already impacted by COVID-19 this year.

These impacts come as the state deals with education staffing shortages. 

“So, districts, when they have to move to a virtual learning or they have to close altogether, these are decisions that are not made lightly,” Bishop said. “But district’s first priority is the safety of their students, the school personnel and the community as a whole.”

For many, COVID isn’t as top-of-mind as it once was – as numbers are down.

Each week, the state releases updated COVID-19 numbers – but with the rise in at-home testing – experts say they haven’t shown the full picture. 

“So we know this curve grossly underestimates the number of cases that occurred this past summer,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler with OU Health. “I think virtually everybody I’ve talked to knows somebody that’s tested positive this summer.” 

Bishop says it’s time for communities and anyone interested in joining the education workforce to step up. 

“It is an outstanding profession that gives you joy,” Bishop said. “Now is the time to step into that brave space.”

Health experts say vaccines are still the best way to stop the spread.

On Wednesday morning, both Pfizer and Moderna got FDA authorization for their boosters that target the Omicron subvariants on Wednesday morning.

Those should be available in the coming weeks.