MEDFORD, Ore. — Southern Oregon’s largest school districts are experiencing a critical shortage of substitute teachers.
The Ashland and Medford School Districts say the return to hybrid learning heightens this staffing issue.
But the problem isn’t only in Southern Oregon, it’s also statewide.
Prior to the pandemic, substitute teachers were needed in both the Medford and Ashland School Districts.
Now, with students returning to the classroom, full and part-time, having substitute teachers is once again essential.
Some high-risk teachers got out of the profession rather than put themselves at risk.
MSD’s Assistant to the Superintendent, Debbie Simons says before the pandemic, one substitute could look over almost 30 children.
“Covid has exacerbated that issue significantly,” says Simons.
Now, with Covid-19 protocols in place children are separated into smaller classes and cohorts, making substitutes even more important.
“Where before we needed a single teacher and maybe an assistant, I now need double of that because I now have two classrooms operating with what was prior one, says Simons.”
MSD says it’s reaching out to people finishing up their student teaching certifications about potential openings.
The Ashland School District is feeling the same burden.
HR Director Laurie Rooper, says it started hiring teaching assistants for extra help.
“In addition to having certified substitutes we also are hiring education assistants to provide that additional supervision in the classrooms,” says Rooper.
ASD is reaching out to the community to fill its substitute positions just in time for students return to the classroom.
A simple Goggle search reveals open positions across virtually every Southern Oregon School District.
“We will take what we can get, the more the merrier is where I am at in regards to substitute teachers,” says Rooper.
Substitutes aren’t the only position in need of people, cafeteria workers, custodial workers, and playground monitors are also needed.
To apply visit the school district’s websites.