COLORADO SPRINGS — To prevent a potential substitute shortage during the upcoming school year, one local school district came up with a strategy to ensure classrooms will be covered.
Harrison School District 2 plans to have paraprofessionals who are already within the school be ready to step in for a teacher who is sick or unable to teach on any given day. By having this plan in place, they'll be able to maintain student cohorts or small groups and have more flexibility with planning.
"We knew that with the pandemic we had to look at clever arrangements," said Christine O'Brien, Harrison School District 2. "There's some additional training. I might add too that we are compensating those staff members."
The district says it'll be beneficial having these employees fill in since they have more training than typical substitutes. They also have a better understanding of the protocols in place for COVID-19. The district says most paraprofessionals haven't expressed concern about returning to school as well.
"Those paraprofessionals would be at the school anyway," said O'Brien.
There will be ten paraprofessionals per school who are authorized to teach. As a backup, the district will also be able to draw from their regular substitute list as well.
"We didn't find that the list has drastically dropped off, but again we wanted to prepare because none of us knows what's going to happen with schools reopening," said O'Brien.
The district says they are always looking for additional substitutes. For information on requirements and how to get started, click here.