COVID-19

Some school districts are having a hard time finding substitute teachers

Amanda Peacher Sep 20, 2021
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Amid rising COVID-19 cases in some areas, school districts are struggling to fill substitute teacher positions. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Some school districts are having a hard time finding substitute teachers

Amanda Peacher Sep 20, 2021
Heard on:
Amid rising COVID-19 cases in some areas, school districts are struggling to fill substitute teacher positions. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
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In many school districts, substitute teachers are in short supply. As COVID-19 infections surge in some areas, school administrators are juggling sick days and absences necessitated by quarantines. Districts desperately need substitutes to fill staffing gaps. Those jobs can be a hard sell right now.  

Substitute teaching is a hard job anytime — but Lori Schieffer who trains substitutes with the Substitute Teacher Academy said it’s particularly tough now. 

“Some people don’t want to expose themselves to potentially getting the virus,” Schieffer said.

The virus is spreading rapidly in some schools. Kathleen Tuck is with the Nampa School District in Idaho, with about 13,000 students. During our 20-minute interview, the number of confirmed infections reported by her school district kept ticking up. 

“Our number is now 97 … started at 93,” Tuck said.

That number includes students and teachers. Idaho put $10 million toward substitute teacher recruitment. School districts nationwide are offering more pay and bonuses. 

Still, Tuck says last week her district was short 114 substitutes. Front desk staff — even security guards — have been asked to fill in. 

“We’re pretty desperate in some schools,” Tuck said, adding that the labor shortage doesn’t help. Even if school districts can offer substitutes more pay, there are many, many other job options out there.  

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