Teachers’ Pandemic-driven Quarantine- Substitute Exploration
As the pandemic forced several thousands of teachers across the country to quarantine this winter, individuals running the administration in the Washoe County School District, pulled out all the stops to attempt to continue in-person instruction for students.
Currently, they have completely exhausted the regular supply of substitute teachers. The existing teaching professionals were asked to implement their planning periods to cover lectures or classes for colleagues who were quarantined. Some schools even went ahead and tapped librarians, principals, guidance counsellors, and many other staff members to take classes or oversee classes during recess and lunch break.
In one case, the superintendent even substituted in for an absent teacher. In the words of Joe Ernst, an area superintendent responsible for overseeing two dozen schools,
“We had to embrace an all-hands-on-deck mindset to keep schools open.”
Vaccination Process to Bring Teachers Back To Their Pavilion?
By the end of November 2020, the deadly virus had forced numerous teaching professionals to stay at home which eventually witnessed a drop in the availability of teaching professionals and was unable to cover some 2000 requests for substitute teachers. Following the same, the district halted in-person instruction, shifting or moving all middle and high schools to the remote-learning model.
The struggles faced by Washoe County are just a microcosm of the larger battle that numerous schools are going through in order to continue with their process of in-person teaching. Throughout the US state education as well as district officials convey that the pandemic has further intensified the already venerable shortage of teaching professionals at the school levels.
As virus infections continue to spike, more and more educators have been forced to stay at home and further the limited accessibility to covid-19 testing systems and vaccination process along with contract tracing have augmented the shortage in teaching professionals eventually leading schools in the district to shut down for weeks at a stretch. Superintendents strongly feel that it’s just a ripple effect of the aftermath of the pandemic.