Southside ISD facing substitute teacher shortage amid COVID-19 pandemic

SISD has only 35 substitutes this year, compared to 120 last year

SAN ANTONIO – Southside Independent School District is struggling to find substitute teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Southside ISD had 120 substitutes. This year, it has only 35.

Sharon Fuery, executive director of human resources and administration at Southside ISD, said there are several reasons substitute teachers are not returning this year.

“They were worried about, you know, their health, having maybe preexisting condition, the health of people in their family, you know, and just a little afraid of COVID,” Fuery said.

The district said about 50% of students are learning in person, and teachers are in the classroom.

Fuery said having substitutes is critical during the pandemic because teachers who get sick and experience COVID-19 symptoms must stay home.

“We had a list at one time that was up to 71 people that were working from home for different reasons,” Fuery said.

Flu season is another concern, so the district is reaching out to former substitutes, hoping some will return.

Substitute teacher Judith Stewart is one of the few substitutes who decided to come back amid the pandemic.

“Right now, especially with some health concerns, I can understand subs not wanting to go back,” Stewart said.

Stewart is adjusting to the new changes.

“There is still just a little bit of concern, but I think as long as we keep vigilant about the mask and the social distance and the personal hygiene, I think we’ll be OK,” Stewart said.

To learn more about the substitute job at Southside ISD, click here.

Northside ISD, Northeast ISD and San Antonio ISD said the substitute teacher shortage is not impacting their districts.

Northside ISD said it has approximately 1,000 substitutes, a number lower than previous years. The district said it is always looking to hire more substitutes. Applications are accepted through the human resources office or online.

North East ISD said it is always in need of substitute teachers and advertises for them year-round.

San Antonio ISD said it is aware of the nationwide substitute teachers shortages, but it is not impacting its district.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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