WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- In a Tuesday meeting, the Wake County Public Schools System school board discussed the return to in-person learning and adding substitute teacher jobs.
The school board voted unanimously in mid-December to move to fully remote learning from Jan. 4 to 15 because of rising COVID-19 case counts.
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Board Chairman Keith Sutton told ABC11 that having enough staff at schools has been a concern. That's because as cases rise, more teachers have to quarantine or isolate.
The district said there are currently 2,900 substitute teachers. So far, only 600 of them have taken an assignment this year.
The superintendent said Tuesday that they will not be bringing any new recommendations to Tuesday's meeting. The recommendations that were already in place advised that students grades kindergarten through 6th would return to in-person learning on Jan. 20.
That's because students are already off Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Jan. 19 is a teacher workday.
Students in 6-12 are scheduled to be back on a 3-week rotational basis that same week.
During the meeting, the board discussed the shortage of substitute teachers due to the pandemic.
The district is launching, "We Need You; They Need You," which aims to encourage parents, retirees (including retired teachers) and those who support public schools to consider serving as substitute teachers.
"The role of the substitute teacher is now more vital to the success of our school district than ever before," said Anthony Muttillo, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. "We need folks who are ready and willing to join us in supporting our students and making a difference in their lives."
WCPSS said there was a shortage of as many as 200 subs on any given day in the last two weeks before winter break.
The substitute teachers do not need to have previous teaching experience, nor do they have to be certified as teachers. They should have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and complete a short online training course.
"We have a need in the district and we're calling on really anybody who has a passion to work with students," said AJ Muttillo, WCPSS Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
Those interested may find more information here.
"It doesn't take long at all if you're looking to put some food on the table, pay your bills not wait around for any government incentives-this is the way to go," said Dwayne Collins, substitute.
Collins has been a substitute for three years. He says the flexibility drew him into the job and now he's hoping others will see the benefits too.
"It feels great to know you have somewhere to go to work everyday and know that you're actually helping out," Collins said.
On Tuesday, more data was presented to the school board from around the country which showed that transmission of COVID-19 was largely not happening in classrooms themselves.
The superintendent did say that schools need to reinforce their protocols around meal time because that's where administrators have seen transmission.