Central Florida school districts face substitute teacher shortage

Lake Mary Elementary School is one of at least two schools that sent an email out to parents this week explaining how bad the substitute teacher shortage is.

In fact, the district is so desperate that they are seeking out parents for help.

"I would, I would because I work from home," Robreia Greathouse, a mother of two, said she is considering stepping up and subbing for Seminole County Public Schools. 

The district is looking for more parents like her.

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Seminole and Volusia County Schools are facing the same crisis: a substitute teacher shortage in part due to COVID-19. 

An email was sent to the parents of Lake Mary Elementary School students that said that teachers "may have to be quarantined for as long as ten days. Your help would be greatly appreciated."

"If a parent is involved in that particular school and has the flexibility to help out here and there, we would love that to happen," said Seminole County Public Schools spokesperson Michael Lawrence. The district said it is getting harder to fill vacancies. "Last year, we were probably able to fulfill vacancies on any given day on close to about a 90 percent clip. Right now, we’re closer to between 50 and 60 percent this year." 

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"It’s getting bad again. The COVID rates are high so it doesn’t surprise me at all," Greathouse added.

On good days, Seminole County Public Schools said that whoever is free in school will step up, even assistant principals. On worse days, both Seminole and Volusia said there’s arena-style subbing in a gym or auditorium. 

"All of the students from those classrooms will sit in that one area so one or two people can cover that group versus having an individual sub in all of those classes," they said.

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