School District having Trouble Finding Substitute Teachers

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BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Some schools are days away from opening and one district is already facing a major problem.

A teacher shortage.

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In Booneville, a handful of teachers are in self-isolation after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19.

“It takes X number of teachers, certified teachers to have school each and every day and once that threshold is broken, then adjustments have to be made,” said Dr. Todd English, superintendent of the Booneville School District.

One adjustment the school district is making is going virtual the first month of class, then after Labor Day, a hybrid option will be offered.

Dr. English said that’s because roughly 10 percent of the district’s teachers are out due to the coronavirus.

“It became problematic last week when we decided that around 10 percent of our teachers were in the quarantine or isolation protocol, and then we decided to make the decision last week so we can give parents enough time to make childcare arrangements,” he said.

The superintendent said they initially tried to find substitute teachers to solve the issue, but then ran into another problem.

“We, just like most other school districts, are having a difficult time finding substitute teachers because of the coronavirus,” Dr. English explained. “It’s not really a financial thing as much as it is health related concerns.”

The longtime educator believes the lack of subs will be a problem that remains during this pandemic.

He admits, it’ll put a strain on the districts, but he’s committed to keeping everyone safe even if it means reverting back to the virtual route.

“We’re not going to have a teacher in the classroom at all costs, we’re not going to have a teacher in the classroom, we’re not going to have an assistant in the classroom if it puts others at risk,” Dr. English expressed. “We don’t want to do that to the teachers or the assistants, nor the students, nor the parents, so we will make adjustments.”

The Booneville School District will provide lunch to students, and administrators are also allowing them to come on campus to come to use the Wi-Fi, if needed.

The district will begin classes on August 5th.