Beaver Area School District facing lack of substitute teachers during cold, flu season

It’s back to normal for kids at Beaver Area School District and with that comes the return of the flu and common cold.

“Sick kids we are seeing a lot of sick kids and a lot of it is common things. Runny nose, ear infection, but we are just seeing a lot more of it than we’ve seen in the past few years,” said Dr. Joe Aracri with Allegheny Health Network.

Dr. Aracri credits that to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that kids aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, the typical germs are spreading, and they don’t have a built-up immunity.

“We are expecting each kid will get sick about once a month each one lasting about two weeks,” Dr. Aracri said.

That will be the case until the month of May. So, when kids get sick, their teachers do too.

“We probably averaged about 10 teachers out that week,” said Beaver Area High School Principal Sean Snowden.

Illnesses combined with professional development and Beaver Area School District is getting creative when it comes to filling those holes.

“The lack of substitute teachers presents a lot of problems when we are averaging five to seven teachers being out of the building,” Snowden said.

Snowden can’t pinpoint why there is a lack of substitutes, but he said they’ve had to have other staff fill in and even combine classrooms to get by.

“We don’t want to lose instruction time, it’s not ideal when we have to facilitate because we just have someone monitoring our students to make sure they are doing assigned work through the iPad. But if there was instructional time added that would be beneficial to them,” Snowden said.

Snowden knows his school is not alone, but with the sick season extended this year they do need help. He’s hopeful people in the community will step up to get certified and help fill in.

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