No Substitute for COVID


On Nov. 23, Laura Seifert, substitute teacher, stood in for Kelsea Stueve, Spanish teacher’s, fourth hour class. Stueve is one of many teachers who find themselves unable to come to school for one reason or another, and high school teachers have had to begin subbing for their coworkers (photo credit A. Kice).

Mallory Putnam, Staff Writer

The high school is facing a problem that many did not consider when returning to in-person learning. Teachers are being taken out left and right due to quarantine rules and COVID-19 restrictions, making the race to find subs a hard one to win. With what seems like a new teacher staying home every day, schools are left scrambling to quickly fill those roles – especially if a teacher is in quarantine for two weeks. At one point, the high school had fourteen teachers out of the building for one reason or another. This forced teachers who have their own classes to sub in class periods for the absent teachers.

“Most of [the problem] is just teachers not having plan time because they are covering other classes, so we are having a hard time keeping up with all of the other things we are supposed to do,” Renee Stallbaumer, math teacher, said. 

Not only is this affecting teachers, but regular substitutes as well. As the demand for subs increase, the number of substitute teachers willing to expose themselves in a school setting are decreasing. Taking into consideration that they are most likely subbing for someone that is out for COVID-19 reasons makes substitutes think twice about if they want to go in or not.

Carleen Rajala, substitute teacher, said, “There is a much higher job demand now. I also sub in a large variety of schools because of it, where I normally get into one or two schools and stay within those. Now that there’s so many openings, I go to the schools that has the most teachers gone.”

With the lack of substitutes, there is a fear the school may be closed due to a lack of employees. 

“They can’t combine classes because they can’t have outside people in the classrooms, so I guess it could mean they could potentially close the school,” Rajala said.

However, this fear hasn’t lasted long as the district announced they will resume remote learning on Nov. 30.

“I guess that’s kind of why going back to remote will be nice; it will alleviate some of those things. It will be hard to not have students in the room, but it’s nice to know that coverage won’t be as difficult to take care of,” Stallbaumer said.

Teachers have stepped up to the plate to get absent teachers classes covered when the school can’t find a sub, which has led to stress, but they do it anyway. In the end, this is just another curveball that the virus has thrown our way, forcing us to continuously adapt to adverse situations.

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