DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — School systems nationwide and statewide have been scrambling to solve the ongoing teacher shortage.

According to the Alabama Department of Education website, the latest shows Houston County Schools have 16 open teacher positions.

“We’ve had quite a new few positions this year some of it due to growth and some of it just due to retirees and resignations,” Superintendent Brandy White said.

But due to starting February on the big task at hand, the majority of the positions have now been filled.

In fact, Houston county schools brought in over 50 new teachers for orientation — one of them being Natalie Buckles, who is entering her first year as a kindergarten teacher at Wicksburg.

“I’ve always wanted to be here and I didn’t know if I would be able to get on with no experience but I’m very lucky to get the opportunity and I’m excited,” Superintendent White said.

But although she has her jitters, she knows her first year will be challenging — especially with the spread of COVID-19 picking back up before students head back to the classroom.

“When I started college COVID wasn’t a thing the teacher shortage wasn’t really a thing but when I started the program it started coming around so it’s kinda like all I have known in education but I know it will be rewarding,” said Natalie Buckles, a first-year kindergarten teacher at Wicksburg Elementary.

As of now, White says they aren’t making any changes and planning for a normal school year – he’s urging parents that if their child is symptomatic stay home.

However, White says they will monitor the numbers and remain vigilant in case they have to adapt.

“Last year we did the best considering those circumstances we showed a lot of growth despite the missed time and this year I hope we can get back to as normal as a year as possible,” White said.

Houston County School will start this upcoming school year on August 9th.