Flu-like symptoms causing substitute teachers, other workers to call out sick

Posted at 5:19 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 19:19:12-04

MERIDIAN — When that scratchy throat, runny nose, time of year comes to the Treasure Valley, it’s Cheryl Botkin’s job to make sure the schools are all taken care of.

“It has been a little tricky this year, it’s been a rougher start, a lot of it is just a lot of sickness," said substitute coordinator for West Ada Cheryl Botkin.

West Ada School District has over 50 schools, 875 substitute teachers, and Cheryl is in charge of making the sub arrangements for the entire district.

“I absolutely love my job, that’s why I’ve been here for as long as I have," said Botkin, "I get up early, I mean I get here at 5 in the morning and again, just to see what needs to be done and just start going for it."

As it creeps into flu season with and an uptick in people checking into clinics with similar systems, filling the substitute spots gets tricky.

“We’ve had lots of substitutes cancel the jobs because they’re sick or their child is sick, so they need to stay home, so the sickness doesn’t just go to the teachers it goes to the substitutes too and any of the students and their own children," said Botkin

If that happens, Cheryl says it's all about juggling and minimizing damage.

"So say one school has ten out and all jobs are filled but I have another school that has ten out and four teaching positions aren’t filled, we just try to minimize, I might have to take one from this one school and put them over here," said Botkin.

It’s a tricky time right now, but this isn’t even her busiest time of the year.

“Spring is always the hardest because there’s so much going on at the end of the school year," said Botkin.

Too early to tell if this flu season will cause more absences for teachers, kids, and the subs, but Cheryl's not too worried.

"We have we have great subs, we have great teachers we have great secretaries, I mean we just all pull to gather when we have to pull it together," said Botkin.

To monitor influenza activity in Idaho, click here.