As COVID-19 continues to surge across the country, the Hays Consolidated Independent School District (Hays CISD) in Kyle, Texas, is asking parents to consider applying to become a substitute teacher.
According to a report from Fox 7 Austin, the school district sent out an email to parents at the end of last week asking them to think about becoming a sub and posted the request on social media.
Parents would have to apply, pass the fingerprint criminal background check, and attend orientation, but if the principal knows them and recommends them, the district can waive the requirement that they have at least 30 college hours.
"We believe that having someone in class, even if we temporarily forgo the college hours requirement, is better than the alternative of having to close schools," Hays CISD said. "We will have a number of teachers and other school staff on hand to help our new parent subs. And, having schools open is important for student academic success, but also for their social and emotional well-being."
The district touted access to health insurance and bonus programs as incentives to become a sub in a Facebook post from Jan. 6.
In a normal year, there are usually 500 subs available, according to Hays CISD.
"We started this year with only about 100 subs because of delta," the district said. "We have since increased the pool of approved subs to about 300. But, because of omicron, the demand is also greatly increased."
"So far we have been able to cover our classes," Hays CISD said. "For those sub needs that are unfilled, we have campus staff and central office staff that are helping. Also, we are paying teachers to cover classes if they wish to use their off-duty period."
Hays CISD said that, although the district needs substitute teachers, it is also important that people are doing their part to keep the virus from spreading.
"Though it’s challenging to have the increased teacher absences, it’s a sign that people who have either tested positive, are showing symptoms, or who have had close contact are heeding the call to quarantine," Hays CISD said.
The Hays CISD serves more than 20,000 students on 25 campuses, according to the district’s Facebook page.
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