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CSRA’s schools face another struggle with need for substitutes

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 11:33 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It started with one, but throughout the first semester, temporary school closures have become pretty routine.

“This week, some of our schools returned to face-to-face learning while other schools transition from face-to-face learning, to learning to learn at home,” Richmond County School System Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw said.

Richmond County has had more than 15 schools close, but they’re not alone. Aiken, McDuffie, Edgefield, and Lincoln counties have all closed schools due to coronavirus concerns.

“Many of our school closures have been due to teacher related absences,” said Lynthia Ross with the Richmond County district.

Most of the time the positive case numbers have been low, but the high numbers of staff in quarantine limit a school’s ability to function.

“In order for us to be able to maintain that if you’re sick or have symptoms, stay at home. It puts more of a demand in the schools for substitute teachers or for temporary talent,” Ross said.

While the demand for substitute teachers is high, the number of applicants are low.

Back in September, the Richmond County district’s substitute fill rate was down to 56 percent. That number has gone up to 76 percent now.

In Aiken, they estimate to have around 300 subs on the roster and about a 70-80 percent fill rate.

That might seem fine, but not in a time where subs are needed most.

“At first we saw, you know, a lot of our subs have said, let me just, you know, pump the brakes for a minute,” said Bobby Schorr, Kelly Education regional vice president.

Kelly Education recruits and hires subs for Richmond County. Since the typical pool of retired teachers are also the most at risk for coronavirus, they’re subbing less.

So, they’ve switched to target younger adults and people laid off or seeking temporary work.

“So we’ve got to keep on this positive forward momentum,” Schorr said.

Things are getting better but positions still need filling.

Many of our school districts are seeking parents or anyone who can to help fill the temporary talent positions. If you think you can help out, see below for how to apply.

How to apply

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