Grand Island public schools struggle to find substitutes
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Public schools in Grand Island report they’re having a hard time finding substitute teachers to fill vacancies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Grand Island Public Schools is experiencing a rapid rise in teachers and staff having to quarantine after testing positive or being exposed to the virus, television station KSNB reported. District personnel chief Wayne Stelk said about a quarter of the district’s certified teaching staff have been sidelined “due to COVID-related situations.”
Many substitutes are retired educators who are in a high-risk category, leading a number of them to decline requests to teach in schools where exposure is an issue, Stelk said. The district could have to move some schools to remote learning if the staffing shortage worsens, he said.
Officials with Northwest Public Schools in Grand Island also report having trouble finding substitute teachers this year. While some have declined to fill in for fear of being exposed, others have declined over objections to school policies, Northwest’s business manager Sharon Placke said.
“Some people, unless masks are required, the subs won’t come in, but then we’ve had just as many other subs that have said that if you’re going to require me to wear a mask, I don’t want to sub,” Placke said.