Substitute teacher shortage worsens as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Posted at 7:34 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 21:34:47-04

SOUTHERN COLORADO — As schools continue to handle positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines, one big issue they're running into is the lack of substitute teachers.

Academy School District 20 says they have a large pool of substitute teachers, but when the district reaches out, they're finding some apprehension due to COVID concerns.

"It's actually really safe to come substitute with us. The reason being, we've done contact tracing, we've done all of the deep cleaning and sanitization," said Allison Cortez, Academy School District 20.

They're encouraging substitutes to check the data dashboard or talk with HR if they're uncomfortable. Without their help, the district says they're having to make big changes even for a potential case.

"We're having to transition large amounts of classrooms, potentially whole schools, into e-learning. Not because we've had a COVID-19 outbreak, but because we don't physically have the people there to run the school," said Cortez.

Pueblo's D70 also dealing with this issue, Vineland Middle School is just the latest school to have to stop in-person learning due to one positive case and a lack of staff. The district says it's been tough to find substitute teachers to cover both in-person and remote learning.

"We think our substitutes are being called to do more jobs. They're maybe taking care of their family, they could be having more appointments," said Todd Seip, Director of Communications for Pueblo School District 70.

He also encourages them to reach out if they have concerns.