Pandemic increases need for substitute teachers in some districts

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MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — It always seems there’s a need for substitute teachers. For some districts, remote learning is making it worse. Monticello Superintendent Vic Zimmerman says their shortage of subs is because of the nature of the pool they draw from.

For example, most of their substitutes are retired teachers. A lot of them are also older and in the high-risk category for COVID-19. Because of that, they don’t want to come inside the school building. This can be an issue because 85 percent of their students are still in the classroom.

“It’s also teachers that have gotten their teaching certificate but then have had difficulty finding a job, but there aren’t as many of those either,” explained Zimmerman.

Zimmerman says they aren’t just looking for substitute teachers. They also need substitute custodians, cooks and teachers’ aides. They even raised the pay this year for subs and are encouraging anyone interested to apply.

We also called Decatur and Champaign schools. While they are always taking applications for substitute teachers, they said they don’t have a shortage right now. That’s because remote learning is making it easier for teachers to work from home while sick.

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