WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of people calling in sick. In schools, it is not just the students, it is also teachers and substitute teachers.

On Wednesday, the Kansas State Board of Education took action to get more substitute teachers. It unanimously approved an emergency declaration that allows any individual meeting certain qualifications to apply for a Temporary Emergency Authorized License (TEAL).

To be a substitute teacher in Kansas, an applicant must:

  • Meet the minimum age requirement of 18
  • Have a high school diploma. Individuals with a general educational development (GED) diploma/certificate are not eligible.
  • Have a verified employment commitment from a district or system
  • Be fingerprinted and pass a background check
  • Submit a completed application to KSDE

Usually, a TEAL applicant would need a minimum of 60 semester credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university.

“Although this is far from an ideal or perfect solution, we have to offer relief to Kansas teachers and schools,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched our teacher ranks thin, and there simply aren’t enough licensed individuals to fill substitute roles when our educators are sick or otherwise have to be out of the classroom. This is nothing more than a temporary solution to address an emergency need.”

The Kansas State BOE said the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), United School Administrators of Kansas (USA-Kansas) and the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) agree the solution isn’t ideal but is needed to help alleviate the shortages caused by the pandemic.

The emergency order will expire on June 1. After that, the state will return to the more rigorous requirements.