Some school districts are struggling to find substitute teachers

In many school districts, substitute teachers are scarce. As COVID-19 infections increase in some areas, school administrators juggle sick days and absences made necessary by quarantines. Districts are in desperate need of replacements to fill staff shortages. These jobs can be hard to sell right now.

Substitute teaching is hard work at all times – but Lori Schieffer, who trains substitutes with the Substitute Teacher Academy, said it was especially hard now.

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

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

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

This number includes students and teachers. Idaho has spent $ 10 million recruiting substitute teachers. School districts across the country are offering more salaries and bonuses.

Still, Tuck said last week that his district is running out of 114 replacements. Front desk staff – even security guards – were asked to fill in.

“We’re pretty desperate in some schools,” Tuck said, adding that the labor shortage isn’t helping. Although school districts may offer substitutes a higher salary, there are many other employment options.

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