Eaglecrest, CCSD report major shortage in substitute teachers.

Substitute teachers are becoming a necessity as the nation is hit with the biggest Covid wave yet, but finding them is easier said than done.

Not even a month into 2022, and Covid is once again rearing its ugly head. With the most recent surge of the virus’s Omicron variant, it seems like everyone knows someone who has been infected this winter.

This surge has had a catastrophic impact on schools, with districts across the nation relying on substitute teachers like never before. As a result, there simply aren’t enough subs to meet the demand, creating a sub shortage of massive proportions.

“I’ve worked 149 days since last January,” said substitute teacher Mr. Gordon Gill, “which is far beyond what you’re supposed to, but the Department of Education lets me because schools are in such severe need for substitutes.”

Eaglecrest High School has become another victim of this shortage, with subs visiting nearly every classroom so far into this young semester.

“Last year, it was not like this at all,” said EHS substitute teacher liaison Farrah Jobling. “So far in 2022, it’s been crazy busy with the number of absences that we have out.”

The recent uprise in Covid-19 cases is what’s often put to blame for the sub shortage. (Marcus Turner)

Mrs. Jobling, who took over the position to begin the spring semester, has been first to witness the shortage at work. As the substitute teacher liaison, her main job is to make sure each classroom has a sub when needed, including replacing subs that can’t make it with in-house subs.

“[Last semester], I was an in-house sub, and I was working here every single day,” Mrs. Jobling said, “But there’s definitely an increase this semester. Covid is going rampant right now.”

Fortunately, there have been efforts to combat the issue.

“[Cherry Creek School] District is fantastic, and on the days that they see we have a lot of unfilled absences, they’ll send us district subs, and those district subs will rotate around whichever school needs the most help,” Mrs. Jobling said. “We have actually been really lucky with Cherry Creek, that we’ve had that opportunity for them to help solve the problem.”

But the biggest aid in the fight against the shortage comes from inside Eaglecrest: the staff.

“On any given day, if I put out a request for help, all of our teachers are so willing to cover their colleagues’ classes, and not every school is like that,” Mrs. Jobling said. “Our staff here is really amazing. It’s made my job a lot easier.”

The root cause of this issue goes far beyond the Eaglecrest campus, but Mrs. Jobling is hopeful that we can push past it.

“I’m hoping herd immunity is going to be our solution, in that everyone will have already gotten it and gotten over it and then it’ll be like a common cold,” Mrs. Jobling said. “With this omicron variant, the symptoms are a lot more mild, especially in people who have been vaccinated or have had it before. My theory as a former microbiologist, is that it’ll get to the point where it’s like the flu; we’ll have a yearly shot, and then the cases will be mild, and we’ll have herd immunity.”

The future of the shortage is uncertain, but hope is on our side that we’re in the final stages, and that life will move on as if nothing happened in between.