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Upper Michigan Schools look for substitute teachers, express concern

With increased teacher absences expected, due to COVID-19, the need for subs is even greater.
Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 3:25 PM EDT
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IRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - Educators are checking things off their to-do list this year, including expanding the pool of substitute teachers.

The Stambaugh Elementary school principal Michelle Thomson says this need, though, is not unique.

“We’ve always had a shortage on substitute teachers,” she said.

With increased teacher absences expected, due to COVID-19, the need for subs is even greater. The Norway-Vulcan Area Schools Superintendent Lou Steigerwald adds the demand is complex this year because a lot of subs are older.

“A lot of our substitute teachers are retired teachers. So of whom either they have underlying conditions, or they have a spouse or loved one at home who has underlying conditions,” he said.

Steigerwald says many returning subs are reluctant to put themselves in a school setting, creating a big obstacle, especially as cold and flu season approaches.

“We could have a day where 4 or 5 staff members out and can’t get subs,” said Steigerwald.

Under COVID-19 rules, schools cannot have assemblies or combine classes. Steigerwald says the only option, would be to send kids home.

“So, that’s a very real concern probably for a lot of schools in the area,” he said.

Thomson echoed the thoughts, saying the West Iron County district continues to try to recruit people.

“We aren’t seeing people come in,” she said.

If anyone has 60 credits in college or more and is interested in subbing both schools would be interested in helping them get started.

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