FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- The COVID-19 pandemic made learning difficult, but it also made teaching and finding substitutes more challenging.
“That’s when we first started to see the big drop, and we never really recovered from that,” Luann Erickson, Southwest Allen County Schools’ Director of Human Resources, said.
She said they normally like to keep about 200 subs on staff, but the pandemic decreased that to 50 at one point.
It also hit Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Spokesperson Krista Stockman says they relied heavily on retirees to sub, and they didn’t want to risk their health by teaching in a classroom.
“That’s really made it so much more challenging to get people who want to come in and work in a school setting,” Stockman said.
Erickson said SACS is down almost 15 subs on some days, usually on Mondays or Fridays.
But after getting the word out about the need for subs, and changing the education requirement for the job, she said the district received 50 applications in a little over a week.
Erickson said that’s not enough.
“There’s still a need,” she said. “Even with that, we’re still down considerably from where we were two years ago.”
Applicants must now have at minimum a high school diploma.
“We’re thrilled to have 50 applicants but we definitely need more to help us get to where we need to be,” Erickson said.
FWCS now requires an associate's degree instead of a bachelor's.
But that’s different for long-term situations.
“In those positions, we really try to get people who have a teaching certificate when at all possible,” Stockman said.
Both districts said they have the flexibility to adjust to applicants’ schedules.
“For those who are, stay at home moms or those that are retired, who don’t want a full-time job,” Erickson said. “This is ideal for them.”
The search will continue even as winter break approaches.