Low Pay and High Risk: Being a Substitute Teacher During COVID-19
August 14, 2020
For all educators, the start of this school year will be daunting. But for substitute teachers, there are, in many ways, even more question marks.
School districts are increasingly choosing to start the school year remotely, which could reduce the need for short-term substitutes. But for districts that are doing in-person instruction at least some days of the week, substitutes will be in high demand. There’s already a substitute shortage in many places. And with precautions in place that ask teachers to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure and stay home with any mild symptoms, administrators are expecting to need a long roster of substitutes.
Yet many substitutes—in particular, those who are at high-risk for complications from COVID-19—are weighing the costs of going back: Doing so means they’ll be exposing themselves to a great number of people, under inconsistent safety protocols, and for little pay and potentially no health benefits.