Sub Shortage Stress


       The substitute teacher shortage in Jefferson County continues to grow with the rise of Covid-19. The ever-present threat of catching the virus and the confusing hybrid school models have further driven away people who could be potential subs during the 2020-2021 school year. 

       “The structure of the schools this year – full time elementary but hybrid middle school and high school – makes it very challenging for substitute teachers to take long term assignments and work every day,” substitute teacher Lisa Germann said. 

       Substitutes such as Germann have had to juggle their personal lives along with keeping track of Coronavirus precautions and complicated school schedules. On top of all this, there is always the threat of someone in a school contracting the virus and spreading it to other members of the school community. 

       Substitute teachers are not the only people who will face issues with the shortage though. Teachers, students, administrators, and other staff can be affected by these changes. 

       “I worry that the people in our school buildings who don’t have direct responsibility for supervising a classroom like our principals, our assistant principals, our instructional coaches, our counselors, and our other staff members are really going to be facing a heavy burden as a result of a sub shortage,” Becky Myers, a teacher at West Jefferson Middle School said.

       Without available substitute teachers, other staff members within the school must fill in to make sure students are supervised when a teacher needs to stay home.

       Myers is concerned about the long term implications of the sub shortage.

       “If we can’t have substitute teachers in a time when there’s a lot of illness in our community, we may be facing some profound challenges,” she said.