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Central Florida districts need more substitute teachers during coronavirus pandemic

Districts working to build up pool as teachers are asked to quarantine

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Central Florida school districts are actively hiring substitute teachers to help mitigate any changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

As each district has reopened campuses for in-person learning in August, more than 350 people have been asked to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure including in Osceola, Brevard, Seminole and Orange counties.

By the end of August, only one school in the state was forced to shut down because of COVID-19 cases. However, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said Harmony Middle School in St. Cloud had to resort to that measure due to a lack of substitute teachers able to replace those who tested positive.

With teachers needing to step out of the classroom for the duration of their quarantine, schools need substitutes to step in.

Accord to Kelly Education Services, a substitute recruitment company that also serves Central Florida communities, 60% of its substitute teachers are increasingly filling permanent teacher vacancies.

[Database: Tracking coronavirus in Central Florida schools]

Kelly Education Services currently has about 6,000 substitute teachers and para-professionals across Central Florida districts including Hillsborough, Polk, Orange and Sumter Counties. They credit this increase in demand largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Seminole County Public Schools sent a communication out to families saying they were seeking more substitutes “to add to our pool to help us throughout this school year.” The district says its because many of its substitutes are retired educators over the age of 65, and in the age of virtual learning, if they’re tapping into their substitute pool its because they need someone in the classroom.

“Some of our subs are older or may have some health condition. It just means you have to build that pool even more because you have more to pull from,” Seminole County Public Schools spokesperson Michael Lawrence said.

Those interested in becoming a substitute teacher for Seminole County can apply here.

News 6 has asked school districts how many substitute teachers they have and how many of them have been tapped in to teach. See the responses by county below.

Osceola County Public Schools

  • Pool of 325 substitutes
  • 85 currently working on Tuesday - about 26% of its pool

When asked if the school has a substitute teacher shortage, they said they had established a pool of educators.

“Each school also has an emergency plan for covering teacher absences when a substitute is not available,” a spokesperson with the district said.

To apply to be a substitute teacher in Osceola County, click here.

Marion County Public Schools

  • Pool of 308 substitute teachers
  • 70 currently working on Tuesday - about 23% of its pool

When asked about a shortage they offered the statement below:

“We’re always looking for substitute teachers and welcome even more given the current conditions,” a district spokesperson said.

To apply to be a substitute teacher in Marion County, click here.

Flagler County Public Schools

  • Pool of 200 substitute teachers

Flagler County did not reveal how many substitutes were currently stepping in for teachers. When asked about a shortage they offered the statement below:

“We do anticipate a need for subs as teachers are forced to quarantine throughout the school year,” a district spokesperson said.

To apply to be a substitute teacher in Flagler County, click here.

Lake County Public Schools

  • Pool of 600 substitute teachers

Lake County did not reveal how many substitutes were currently stepping in for teachers.

When asked about a shortage they offered the statement below:

“(We) are reviewing more than 200 applications from those who want to join our team. Qualified applicants will be interviewed. Some will be selected to proceed to training and orientation before being placed in classrooms. We are always looking to have a plentiful team of good substitute teachers,” a district spokesperson said.

To apply to be a substitute teacher in Lake County, click here.


This story will be updated we receive more information.

To apply to be a substitute with Kelly Education Services, click here.


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