In many schools around the United States staffing is a major issue as they struggle to employ essential workers as substitute teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.
Quite a few states have recently started to invent ways in which to acquire more workers to perform these jobs at the schools. Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA) even went as far as to call in the National Guard in order to help with the severe lack of bus drivers. Even Missouri and North Carolina are attempting to come up with ingenious ways to get people to stay on at the schools or to try and pull new blood in.
Earlier this past month, the North Carolina State Board of Education passed a measure “setting aside $10 million in federal COVID relief funds to provide bonuses to new and existing workers in school nutrition programs. School districts have been losing cafeteria workers to the private sector, leading to double-digit vacancy rates,” as reported by The News & Observer.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in Missouri is now also allowing people who wish to be substitute teachers to become them with just an online course.
Margie Vandeven, the DESE Commissioner stated that the state had many problems with a lowered number of teachers even before the coronavirus pandemic, but COVID-19 “elevated” the issue to an insane degree.
When speaking about the list of requirements needed to be a substitute teacher, Vandeven stated, “They still have to go through all the other fingerprints, background checks, and all those other requirements that are necessary, but it just opens up one more avenue to provide substitute teachers in our schools.”
The severe lack of employees at schools seems to go even further than just essential workers, but those particular positions are the ones that many states are trying to put forth efforts to fill.
As stated by The New York Times, “Some are struggling to retain counselors, teachers and principals, but a more urgent need seems to be for employees who have traditionally operated behind the scenes — cafeteria workers, bus drivers and substitute teachers — according to Chip Slaven, interim director for the National School Boards Association.”
While many think this was just a pre-pandemic problem, it seems to be downward spiraling to an even worse level.
The Times went on to say that many other “low-paying industries, like restaurants” are also struggling to pull in new employees but stated that this is due to the pandemic without nodding to the issue likely also having to do with the issues surrounding the economy currently.