By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on January 13, 2022
With Governor Roy Cooper announcing plans to allow state employees to fill school jobs in light of COVID-19-related staff shortages, the Dare County Schools are looking for help in responding to “a significant drop in the number of substitute teachers.”
On Jan. 12, Cooper announced a directive that would allow “state employees to use volunteer days with supervisor approval to work in North Carolina public schools as substitute teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria staff.” The directive will be in effect until Feb. 15.
A statement announcing that decision said that, “For much of the 2021-22 school year, many school districts have experienced a greater need for substitute teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff and other support personnel who can fill in for employees who need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. To help combat the staff shortages, Gov. Cooper’s new directive will allow state employees to use paid leave to serve as substitute staff in schools while also keeping any compensation they earn as substitutes.”
“Under the updated policy, state employees are eligible to use community service leave for time spent training to be a substitute teacher, substitute teacher’s assistant or other substitute staff at a school or school district,” the release continued. “State employees are also eligible to use community service leave for other volunteer activities, regardless of compensation.”
A Jan. 13 Dare County Schools statement noted that while the district has “not seen the adverse impact of certified teacher staffing shortages that some districts have faced across the state, we have had a significant drop in the number of substitute teachers. We are optimistic that Governor Cooper’s policy to allow state employees to use volunteer days to support the public schools could positively impact Dare County. Substitute teachers play a critical role in keeping our schools operating during this challenging time.”
The statement added that “anyone interested in becoming a substitute teacher for Dare County Schools can visit our website to learn more or contact Associate Superintendent Sandy Kinzel.”
According to the most recent Dare County Department of Health and Human Services data, there are 54 active cases of COVID-19 among the county’s public school students with 85 students quarantined. At the staff level, there are currently 19 active cases with 7 in quarantine.