Substitute teachers wondering how the school year will go for them amidst a pandemic

Another growing concern as students return to the classroom this fall — substitute teachers.

The head of the Lee County Association of Substitute Teachers says he doesn’t think any will be willing to fill in.

“I haven’t heard anything about what expectations are for subs. Are they going to be using us? Do you know anything,” asked Marvin Goetz.

He says he gets calls like this all the time and as the president of Lee County Guest Teachers, he’s frustrated he doesn’t have the answers. What role will substitute teachers play come August, especially since many of them are at greater risk for COVID-19 complications?

“The old way of subbing isn’t going to function anymore, so we need to have a new way and it’s gotta be a safe and a healthy way, both for the students and for the substitutes,” he said.

The district says it’s working on it. Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Angela Pruitt says they’re still working through the roles of everyday teachers and are at the beginning stages of addressing substitute teachers.

“We are in the process of developing online training that they can take that will review all of that and how is that going to work so they know when they go into the schoolhouse, what is the expectation? What are the new processes, if there are any,” she said.

Substitute teachers often bounce from one school to the next if needed.

Kevin Daly, president of the Teachers Association of Lee County, believes with COVID-19, the subs role will become more important.

“I think if we keep it safe for staff and keep it safe for students, we’ll probably keep it safe for our guest teachers as well,” he said.

Either way, Goetz says each sub will make their own decision on whether or not they return to the classroom. Goetz will not.

The Lee County School District says a survey with information will go out to substitute teachers next Wednesday. It will also allow those teachers to provide input and determine who will return in the fall.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Briana Harvath
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