The coronavirus pandemic brings new urgency for substitute teachers

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – School districts across Kansas are preparing for a safe return to in-person classes in the Fall. The coronavirus pandemic is shining a light on a need districts have faced for years, substitute teachers.

Hutchinson Public Schools says this year is creating a new urgency, “With the way the pandemic is going right now it’s quite possible we’ll have a heavy volume need,” said Rick Kraus, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Hutchinson Public Schools.

Instead of being a concern just for cold and flu season. Some districts believe finding subs could be a year long hurdle. “You say goodbye to your students on Monday thinking you’ll see them of on Tuesday and then you get a call Monday night from your Great Aunt Sally, who said at her birthday party, there’s someone who is positive for the virus and now all of a sudden you have to quarantine,” said Kraus.

In the past if a sub or an extra teacher wasn’t available, Kraus said districts could work around it. However, he says gathering limits could change that, “Sometimes we would combine classes together, you know, to limp through the rest of the day. That as an option, probably is not on the table right now.”

Bishop Carroll schools are preparing for the same with bodies and in the budget, “If we have to have them in the building, we will find the money to do that. Also, there might be some areas within our existing staff that we might be able to realign,” said Leticia Palacioz Nielsen, Bishop Carroll High School President.

Districts are still working out how much

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