Substitute teacher shortage in eastern Iowa heightened during pandemic

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:37 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The pandemic has heightened the need for substitute teachers in Eastern Iowa.

“It’s been hard to get subs the last couple of years on a consistent basis anyway and then the pandemic definitely made things worse,” Linn-Mar Superintendent Shannon Bisgard told KCRG-TV9.

In July, Governor Reynolds eased requirements due to the pandemic, allowing people to sub with an Associate’s Degree or 60 college credits from a regionally accredited school. The loosened restrictions brought more subs to the area, but overall numbers are still down.

Grant Wood Area Education Agency houses the SubCentral system, which coordinates subs for 14 districts in eastern Iowa. They added 137 subs to the pool this year that wouldn’t have qualified under pre-COVID requirements.

“137 out of 287 or so approximately were actually authorized under the rule that were passed, emergency rules passed by the Governor,” said John Speer, Chief Administrator at Grant Wood AEA.

Linn-Mar has seen success with substitutes this year with first-time subs.

“They’ve done a really nice job. They’ve been motivated to learn and do their very best,” Bisgard acknowledged.

Still, even with eased requirements, Grant Wood AEA is down 77 people from the sub pool they had available just last school year.

“I would expect the sub pool to kind of come back up to what we normally expect, but it’s important to keep in mind even at that normal level, we’re still short subs,” Speer explained.

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