WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – With COVID cases on the rise, the demand for substitute teachers across Kansas school districts has increased, and some universities are stepping up to help the demand across the state.

“I’m chomping at the bit to get into the classroom actually,” said Melinda Donley, a student at Newman University.

Donley said after homeschooling her own children, she is so excited to become a teacher. She said it was substitute teaching that inspired her to get into the classroom.

“I love teaching kids and watching them learn,” said Donley.

Interim Dean of the Newman School of Education Jessica Bird said many of their students are long-term subs while taking classes to become a teacher.

“We have to continue to work together to find creative ways to get our students out into the classroom so that they can help be part of the solution,” Bird said.

Many students are subbing all over Kansas, and with the board of education’s temporary authorized license, Bird said will allow some of their undergraduate students to also step in to help out.

Wichita State University said this semester they will be graduating 300 new teachers and currently, they are working in partnership with Wichita Public Schools.

“We have set it up where our students are able to meet their KSD regulations of student teaching by going 4 days a week for their student placement teaching, and then on Fridays, they serve as a sub,” said Dr. Ashlie Jack, the interim associate dean of the College of Applied Studies at Wichita State University.

A spokesperson for USD 259 shared that since the temporary emergency authorized license was passed on Wednesday, they have had more than 150 people apply for their sub positions.