OREGON, Wis. — Schools across the country are in crisis. Buildings are on the brink of closing again. This time, it’s because they’re short on teachers. Substitutes are in high demand, but in short supply.
Principals like Shannon Anderson start their day, sometimes the day before, figuring out how to cover for COVID-related teacher absences. She works closely with one of their administrative assistants at Oregon Middle School to identify which classrooms need to be covered.
When News 3 visited the school in late January, 10 teachers out of 55 were out that day. Four of those openings were covered by substitutes. The middle school has 2.5 substitutes assigned to the school, who are given their classroom assignments when they come in.
Teachers will be asked to cover the rest of the classrooms during their prep time, when they work on lesson planning and grading.
“It feels awful asking them to give up that prep time to cover for a colleague and yet they do it day after day,” says Anderson.
This means teachers are in classrooms outside of their skillset, which has an unknown impact on learning.
“It definitely impacts student learning but the alternative of not being open is obviously far worse,” says Anderson.
Anderson is asking for the public grace and gratitude right now and encouraging anyone willing to become a certified substitute. Wisconsin law requires an associates degree and training to be certified.
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