Here’s why the pandemic may be the root of the supply teacher shortage plaguing area schools | Local education
The school town of Highland, which had 33 permits issued in 2017-18, only saw 15 for 2020-21. As of mid-September, no new permits had been issued for the school town this school year.
In those 24 districts, the number of permits actually increased slightly from 2017-18 to 2018-19, from 1,266 to 1,290. But as the pandemic set in, the sub-numbers started to slide.
This may be in part due to the fact that schools have spent part of the last two school years learning virtually. The school town of Hammond didn’t start bringing children back to classrooms until April 2021, but even then, Young said, so few of them returned in person that the submarines were not not needed as before the pandemic.
But this year, districts are focusing on keeping students in classrooms. Many of them don’t even offer virtual learning options.
In addition to not having enough substitutes, the school town of Hammond does not have enough contract teachers. Looking through the job opportunities on the website of the school town shows 25 teaching openings, the oldest of which was published in April 2020.
Reid Amones, executive director of staff, said schools in Merrillville have been able to cover all of their needs, but the supply of substitute teachers is not as large as before.