SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A shortage of substitute teachers has prompted Seminole County School leaders to take a proactive approach to fill vacancies.
It’s a challenge facing area districts during the ongoing pandemic. On Tuesday, during public comment school board members heard from concerned community members about the openings.
“I just got an email letter from my child’s school principal today pleading for substitution help,” one speaker said.
At times the call for substitute teachers was met with hesitation. It’s the latest burden felt districtwide as COVID-19 infections spread.
“I have a background in education and would qualify to serve as a Seminole County substitute. I would be pleased to serve my community in this crisis, I can’t because I can’t put my family at risk,” a speaker said.
Michael Lawrence, a spokesperson with Seminole County schools said vacancies go beyond substitute teacher openings.
“We have a lot of needs in a lot of areas substitute teaching is one, bus drivers too, we have about 30 vacancies that we are looking to fill and then our food services. We probably have about 100 vacancies in that area,” Lawrence said.
He said the district is trying to address shortages before the situation becomes critical in the midst of a pandemic
“We are still in COVID, we still have the situations where teachers are having to quarantine themselves whether or not they are fine because they may have been exposed,” Lawrence said.
While the demand is putting school administrators in a tough spot, the district hopes to fill openings soon.
“We’re closer to around 50 to 60% at filling some of those vacancies so what that means is another staff at the school may have to go and fill in for a classroom on any given day,” he said.
A majority of the openings will be for face-to-face instruction and qualified parents are urged to apply.