In this photo provided by the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, Brian McKinney, right, who has children in the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, in Kyle, Texas, teaches a class at Johnson High School, in Buda, Texas, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. McKinney, a small business owner and former teacher, is among parents the district has hired to work as substitute teachers during a staffing crunch. He returned to the classroom after about 15 years away. (Moses Leos III/Hays Consolidated Independent School District via AP)

Schools seek volunteer teachers amid COVID staffing crunch

Schools seek volunteer teachers amid COVID staffing crunch

Schools seek volunteer teachers amid COVID staffing crunch

With teacher absences mounting and substitutes in short supply, parents may be wondering: Who’s teaching the kids?

The answer around the U.S. could be a local police officer, National Guard soldier, state budget analyst, parent or recent high school graduate — nearly anyone willing to help keep schools’ doors open through the omicron-driven staffing crunch.

States have been loosening teaching requirements to give schools more flexibility on hiring as coronavirus exposures, illness and quarantines add to strains on schools that also have been tapping librarians, custodians and support staff to help cover classrooms during the pandemic.

Brian McKinney, a parent with students in second and 10th grade in Hays County, Texas, spent part of this week as a substitute, helping sixth graders through a social studies assignment that had them writing essays about the Soviet Union. A former teacher, he decided he could help as he waited out a cold snap that has slowed business at the World War II-themed miniature golf course he and his wife now own.

“There was no down time today; I was heavily involved with the kids,” he said after school Tuesday.

The measures have kept schools from having to revert to the waves of remote learning that disrupted homes and left many students behind earlier in the pandemic. Supporters say it’s better to have students in school, where they are supervised and have access to food and services, even if the solutions fall short academically.

Still, the lowering of the bar for teachers raises some concerns about whether schools are just treading water. In some cases when possible, virtual school taught by students’ regular teachers could be a better alternative, said Richard Ingersoll, an expert on the teaching profession at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Remote sometimes might be much more preferable to getting some substitute in there who’s basically babysitting,” he said.

Education

Be Among The First To Know

Sign up for a free account today, and receive top headlines in your inbox Monday to Saturday.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up