Help wanted: Moscow School District seeks substitute teachers

Sep. 28—The Moscow School District has been hit with an increase in COVID-19 cases and could potentially shut down school for several days as it deals with staff absences.

That is why Superintendent Greg Bailey is asking for the public's assistance. The district is looking for those interested in being substitute teachers or paraprofessionals to help out in the classrooms.

"Any help we can get from the community so we can keep our schools up and running would be appreciated," he said.

Paraprofessionals do not need a college degree, but do need to be fingerprinted by the district, Bailey said. Substitute teachers do need a college degree or they can be a junior or senior in college.

He said the district expected a rise in COVID-19 cases this fall, but the growing number of sick staff and students has school administrators concerned. Bailey said they expressed these worries during a Tuesday meeting.

"They're handling it, but they said they're right on the edge" Bailey said.

To deal with the staff shortage, Bailey said schools have stopped some of their special programs. Also, teachers who are specifically hired to help students with their reading are being asked to take on larger roles in the classroom.

"Even our administrators are out and substituting at points in the day," Bailey said.

Bailey said face masks are recommended but not required in schools.

If a school closes because of COVID-19, it needs to be for at least five days because that's the minimum amount of time staff members need to stay out of class, he said. The school district will likely have to make up those days at another point in the year.

Bailey said he is trying everything he can to avoid closing down schools.

This has compounded with an ongoing struggle in the district to hire staff members, including substitute teachers. Even before this fall, Bailey said the district had not been receiving many applications.

"Just as many businesses are struggling with their hiring, we are as well," he said.

Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.