NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The school year for New York City students started Wednesday online.

In-person classes are scheduled to begin next week.

Yet teachers say the Department of Education is still not prepared, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.

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Many teachers spent the first day of school conducting orientations and attending protests — an unusual start to an unprecedented year.

“In our school alone we are missing 20 teachers,” PS 234 dance teacher Cassandra McGlone said at a rally at Union Square.

“It’s doing a disservice to our kids,” PS 234 physical education teacher Matthew Slone added.

Schools: The New Normal

PS 234, which is in Astoria, Queens, is not alone. The city is grappling with a widespread teacher shortage.

It now means children, like Christina Krasniqi’s young sons, will attend in-person classes for half the week, but will not receive live remote instruction when they’re at home.

That means they’ll go days without contact with a teacher, a major change that was announced Tuesday evening.

“I need somebody that can teach them, especially at their age,  4 and 5 years old,” Krasniqi said.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said 2,000 additional teachers are being hired to address the shortage. Substitutes will also be used to fill the gaps.

“We’re going to continue to make adjustments, but also all of the variables keep adjusting as well — how many students are in person; how many have chosen remote; how many of our staff members are seeking medical accommodations,” Carranza said.

The goal is to eventually provide live remote learning for all students. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio is managing expectations as in-person classes are set to begin on Monday.

“We’ve said repeatedly, it will not be a perfect start. We’ll be making a lot of adjustments in the weeks after we begin,” de Blasio said.

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Teachers say they’re ready to do the hard work, but feel like they’re getting empty promises.

“Here we are. I don’t see you. Where are you? You’re not here. So don’t keep saying every day we’re going to send them, we’re going to send them,” fifth grade teacher Carmela Moretti said.

“We want to be able to give them everything that they deserve. These children have been through a lot. These families have been through a lot,” added Laura Smith, who teachers fourth grade.

And in the end, it’s the students and families that suffer.

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