Shortage of substitute teachers impact on Abilene ISD

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Around the nation schools are experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers, and the pandemic has not made it any easier for schools to have the number of substitutes they need. Monday is Abilene ISD’s first day of school, and school district officials addressed the need for substitutes, and making sure they are ready to step in at a moments notice.

“It is a significant different ask for subs and we recognize that,” said Abilene ISD Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Joseph Waldon.

Abilene ISD has been working alongside ESS to prepare their substitute teachers for a school year that is expected to be anything but normal.

“The HR Department in conjunction with ESS has put together a video for them to use to give to subs for various things related to specifically the pandemic. Taking attendance, operating a virtual setup in a classroom,” said Dr. Waldron.

In a situation where a substitute is needed, teachers will have to make sure the substitute can continue their lessons on multiple platforms.

“Now they’re really developing kind of two lesson plans for the sub, because here’s our plan for how we’re going to take care of our in person folks, and how we’re going to take care of our remote learners,” said Abilene ISD Superintendent Dr. David Young.

With students learning both inside and outside of the classroom, Dr. Young says the pandemic has presented an interesting situation Abilene ISD has never encountered.

“If a teacher has to go home, because they were directly exposed, but they’re asymptomatic, they may be teaching their class from home, but we’ll still have a substitute in the room with the students,” said Dr. Young.

Dr. Young says Abilene ISD had the idea of designating substitutes to specific campuses, but the shortage of substitutes will not allow them to do that.

“It would be nice if we could say, ok you’re only going to sub at Bowie Elementary, you’re only going to sub at Jackson Elementary. Unfortunately our substitute pool is not that deep,” said Dr. Young.

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