Arkansas schools seek substitute teachers as COVID-19 cases spike

More teachers are in quarantine and there aren’t enough subs to safely supervise the students. The districts don’t see this threat ending anytime soon.

SALINE COUNTY, Ark. — As the number of COVID-19 cases rise, so does the need for substitute teachers in Arkansas.

Students at Bauxite High School had to quickly pivot to virtually learning Thursday for the rest of the week.

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That’s because 13 teachers either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined due to being exposed to the virus, and only one substitute was available to step up.

“Two years ago, I would have never expected to work from home,” said Hunter Bragg, ninth grader at Bauxite High. “It’s pretty normal for us to go home and work when people get sick.”

A quick pivot has become all too familiar, mostly because schools all across the state lack substitute teachers to fill in the gaps.

“We could really use the help of the community,” said Matt Donaghy, Bauxite School District Superintendent.

Another Saline County School, Harmony Grove, also went virtual through January 22.

There, they face the same problem. After Christmas break the number of COVID-19 cases spiked.

More teachers are in quarantine, but not enough subs to safely supervise the students, and districts don’t see this threat ending anytime soon.

“We are trying our best to hang on and give our kids the highest quality of education for now,” said Donaghy.

Bauxite plans to be a part of a mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic next week where current substitutes will qualify to receive the shot.

The school hopes with further protection against the virus, more subs will become available.

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“We feel like this is a safe environment for people to come to help keep our students engaged in learning and on campus,” said Donaghy.

If you are interested in becoming a sub, contact your local school district.