Alabama schools seek substitutes, fear shortage due to pandemic

Alabama schools seek substitutes, fear shortage due to pandemic
Many Alabama school districts are concerned that there will not be enough substitute teachers for the upcoming school year. (Source: Nusbaum, Lydia)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Many Alabama school districts are concerned that there will not be enough substitute teachers for the upcoming school year. Districts say the problem is being exacerbated because of the pandemic.

School Superintendents of Alabama Executive Director Ryan Hollingsworth said he anticipates some school faculty members will need to stay home if people are tested positive.

“I’m hearing that as a very large concern,” Hollingsworth said. “We have superintendents, appealing to their communities to try to have people sign up in become certified to be a substitute.”

Hollingsworth said this is especially difficult for rural communities. Not only are some schools short on teachers, but staff like bus drivers as well.

“So is that there is a huge concern about being able to staff the school to operate as we need it to operate,” Hollingsworth said.

As of Tuesday, there are 33,554 valid Substitute Licenses in Alabama but Hollingsworth explained that many of those people have a full-time job and could only be available one day per week.

“Initially I would say that’s a good number if they are all available on any given day, however, that is not the case,” Hollingsworth said.

For Talladega County Schools, they are in need of substitute staff members like teachers, CNP workers, and bus drivers.

“A shortage of substitute teachers is also a concern moving forward,” said Talladega County Schools Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Lacey.

Roanoke City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Marcum said some of their older substitutes have decided not to return this year.

“And we completely respect that. So we’ve had some that have dropped off our row that we usually count on,” Marcum added. “So we’re trying to replace those and increase our numbers as well.”

Marcum said the district will provide virtual learning. They are hoping this will help with the substitute shortage.

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