Huntsville City Schools is trying to hire more substitute teachers, because the Coronavirus pandemic is causing a teacher shortage in North Alabama.
This comes after Madison City Schools announced Friday it is delaying high school students' return to traditional classes because so many teachers are in quarantine and there aren't enough substitutes to fill in.
Huntsville City Schools tells WAAY 31 it has about 240 substitute teachers, and that may seem like a lot, but spokesperson Craig Williams said that's much less than previous years, and many of those teachers are in high demand
"I have received actually three phone calls today from three different schools that were looking for subs for this week and I had to turn them down because I'm already booked," said substitute teacher, Erin Frught.
Substitute teacher, Erin Frught says she's noticed there's a larger demand for substitute teachers this year.
"Already being a shortage before the pandemic, then you're going to add the pandemic and you've got people who have conditions where they need to be careful, that's going to cause even more of a shortage," said Frught.
"The COVID pandemic has impacted staffing for substitutes not only for here in Huntsville City Schools, but also across the country as well. People are more hesitant to be around other people and children," said Craig Williams with Huntsville City Schools.
Huntsville City Schools isn't the only district experiencing the shortage. Madison City Schools sent this statement to us last Friday, saying "School principals have reported difficulties in acquiring substitute teachers this year. Our substitute teacher pool is very low compared to previous years."
Limestone County Schools also struggled with the shortage. Some students didn't have teachers for a few weeks into the school year.
"Maybe they are subbing in other districts, maybe they are business owners, maybe their schedule does not permit subbing every single day," said Williams.
"I'm autoimmune so I've always been concerned with who's got a runny nose and now that's heightened," said Frught.
Huntsville City Schools is working to hire more substitutes so they can avoid closing schools if several teachers get Coronavirus or have to quarantine.
"The more the better," said Williams.
Frught says it's important to have teachers available.
"Show them love and affection and teach them things and try to mold these people into good human beings. There's nothing better," said Frught.
WAAY 31 did ask Williams what the criteria is for temporarily closing a school. He said there are three things the district looks at: staffing availability, the number of coronavirus cases, and the number of people quarantining at a school.
If you're interested in being a substitute teacher for Huntsville City Schools, click here.