Northland pupils have been the most absent from classrooms nationally throughout the Covid pandemic.
Student absences impact a school's staffing entitlement, meaning some Tai Tokerau principals are concerned about cuts to funding and staff at the end of this year.
While attendance has been a long-standing issue in Northland, Covid has worsened the situation.
The lowest attendance in Northland schools was in term 1 this year where an average of 73 per cent of students were in the classroom, compared to 85 per cent nationally.
Tai Tokerau Principals' Association president Pat Newman said principals were concerned with the number of students who had "literally disappeared" from the schooling system.
"We had a big fear from those [parents and caregivers] who didn't want their kids to go to school and catch the virus," Newman said.
"Some parents were worried we would vaccinate the kids without parental consent, and there was a lot of misinformation going around in Northland."
The principals' association has appealed to the Ministry of Education and Education Minister Chris Hipkins to maintain the current staffing levels next year.
"Otherwise we are going to have a large number of teachers out of work," Newman said.
If staffing cuts go ahead, principals fear there won't be enough teachers to cater for the eventual return of students.
Newman also worried student absences would perpetuate a "kids out of work" syndrome.
Kaitāia Primary School principal Brendon Morrissey said new entrants - kids aged five to six - were the most absent as parents held onto their kids a little longer.
"It is very scary and there are a lot of schools in Tai Tokerau and Auckland that are going to be losing teachers and teacher aides."
Morrissey said Northland's existing teacher shortage would only get more complex if staff were let go based on current student numbers.
Ministry of Education acting hautū (leader) of operations and integration, Helen Hurst, said they were providing support and advice to schools concerned about their staffing entitlement or Covid -19 affected finances.
"We have adapted and extended existing support to schools that are impacted by the high number of school staff-related absences due to Covid-19."
The ministry is working with schools to ensure they are able to access and receive all the resources they are entitled to, including additional relief teaching funding for staff-related absences.