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Substitute shortage a concern as schools work to reopen

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Posted at 1:31 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 15:31:08-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The pandemic has brought lots of uncertainty, especially when it comes to preparing to go back to school.

Even before the pandemic, substitute teachers (also called guest teachers) were in short supply. Now, as local districts work to finalize back to school plans, the virus could be making that problem even worse.

"It's always been a problem in our district. We've always needed subs. We hire all year long," explained Amie Franklin, the Twin Falls School District's guest teacher coordinator.

It's a problem on the minds of districts across region four--no matter how big or small.

"Subs are essential. We can't get through the school year without substitutes," said Darin Gonzales, a math teacher at Kimberly High School.

"We have a substitute shortage anyway, and my concern is that we're going to have an even bigger shortage on subs," said Dale Layne, Superintendent of the Jerome School District.

"We definitely want to look for or look into establishing and securing some guest teachers and subs," said. Dr. Jim Brown, Superintendent of the Hagerman Joint School District.

"Have an issue with substitute teachers throughout the year," added James Ramsey, Superintendent of the Minidoka Joint School District.

The districts are encouraging everyone to stay home if they feel sick--that means those guest teachers are especially important this year.

"We really don't know what this year is going to take. We don't know if we're going to need 10 subs a day or 200 subs a day," Franklin said.

That's why districts are encouraging the community to be part of the solution.

If you want to apply to be a guest teacher, you have to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma. You also have to be able to pass a background check.

"To be a sub, we really just need someone who is professional and respectful. They desire to see education continue in the absence of a teacher," Franklin said. "There's all walks of life that choose to sub. It's a phenomenal job that works around many schedules. you can sub as little or as much as you want. It really is a rewarding job that a lot of people enjoy."

If you're interested in applying to be a guest teacher, check out the school district website in the area you live!