HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Many school districts across Connecticut are seeing a shortage of substitute teachers.
“It’s pretty bad,” Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association, said. “I think we’re looking at a situation where teachers aren’t taking days they need to take.”
Dias said those teachers are not taking the necessary days because of the stress it will place on their colleagues.
“On average, you’re looking at any size school district having three to five percent of their teachers out on any given day,” Dias said. “In that capacity, you’re talking about thousands of people that need to be available.”
Guilford is one of the affected school districts. On Nov. 11, the district emailed parents, expressing the need not just for substitutes but also flexible work hours.
The Plainville Public Schools is also facing its challenges.
“In most situations, you can’t double up classrooms that are basically at capacity with the distancing that we need to maintain to control the spread,” Plainville Superintendent of Schools Steve LePage said.
When it comes to finding substitute teachers, pay is also a significant issue. Right now, the day rate for a substitute teacher is anywhere from $80 to $90, which is slightly more than $10 per hour.
“That’s not a lot of money for what their responsibilities are,” Dias said. “So, we do think we need to look at the compensation system.”
Dias said one of the largest substitute pools to draw from is retirees, but a previously unvaccinated student population was a reason for concern.
“Hopefully, as students become vaccinated, we will see some re-entry of our retired teachers because they are a tremendously valuable asset,” Dias said.