PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona was already facing a teacher shortage before the pandemic, but since the start of the school year, more than 750 teachers have called it quits.

More than 40% of those teachers say COVID-19 is the reason they chose to resign or retire.

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According to a new survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA), there are fewer teachers than ever in Arizona classrooms. The survey was conducted with 145 school districts and charter schools across the state. The survey found that 751 teachers have quit since Aug. 31, and 326 of those teachers did so because of coronavirus concerns. The survey also showed that 138 teachers have taken a leave of absence for a full year because of the pandemic.

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Some teachers who have medical conditions or other concerns are worried about contracting the virus while around students.

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"When you're a school, you have many, many individuals all on one campus, and it's not just students but staff, as well. You could have a campus with 1,000 individuals with high class sizes," said Justin Wing, an ASPAA board member.

Right now, there are about 3,000 vacant positions that need to be filled, according to ASPAA. Many of those open teaching positions are being filled by long-term substitute teachers or others without teaching qualifications.

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