PUEBLO, Colorado — Students at Pueblo West High School are learning from home Thursday because there aren't enough teachers or substitutes to accommodate in-person learning for the day.
"Some of our high schools are closed for a day or two, here or there just because they'll have staff shortages and not enough substitutes to come in and just not enough teachers to cover those teachers who are gone as well," explained Todd Seip, Public Information Officer for Pueblo School District 70.
Schools around the country are struggling to fill positions right now, especially substitute teachers. Seip said District 70 has around 50 openings at the moment. Administrators recently sent out text messages, emails, and phone calls to parents asking them to consider applying.
"We know that parents as their children go back to school might be looking to pick up some extra hours, a little bit of extra income," Seip said. "They can work when their children are in school. And so, we always like to offer that to that group first, but of course, it's out there to anybody in our community."
Staffing shortages are causing disruptions in other districts as well. Over the weekend, Jefferson County Public Schools suspended bus service for some 1,600 students because of a shortage of bus drivers. The Pikes Peak Library District also announced this week that it was scaling back hours because of a staffing shortage.
Seip said that D-70 is doing better than most districts when it comes to their bus driver staff. They need help the most in the cafeterias and among custodians.
There's also one unique job they need to fill if for applicants who don't mind staying up late at night.
"Of all things for a pool custodian is one thing that we're desperately looking for," he said. "So, anybody that might have experience with pools and kind of a larger building, we've got a place for you."
if you're interested in applying with District 70, visit their website https://www.district70.org. Applicants can also email a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Colorado Department of Education is also offering new one-year licenses to become a substitute teacher. All that's needed is a high school diploma and a clean criminal background check.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that class was canceled at Pueblo West High School on Thursday when in fact the school had switched to remote learning for the day. The headline and copy have been updated to reflect this change.