Limestone County Schools facing virtual teacher shortage

Limestone County Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse says the district still needs to hire two more teachers for the virtual program, and that's after the board of education officially hired 18 teachers Tuesday night.

Posted: Aug 26, 2020 11:58 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2020 7:16 AM

Thursday marks three weeks since the new school year began in Limestone County and after all that time, there are still some students who don't have teachers for their virtual learning classrooms.

Limestone County Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse says the district still needs to hire two more teachers for the virtual program, and that's after the board of education officially hired 18 teachers Tuesday night.

Superintendent Randy Shearouse says there's two reasons behind the hiring problem: there's a teacher shortage across the country and the district wasn't able to hire teachers quickly enough after receiving Coronavirus money to create more classes for the virtual program.

Parents say they are worried children are falling behind.

"It's chaos right now. It's all thrown together and our children are really suffering because of it," said mother, Kristen Williams.

Mother Kristen Williams says her daughter has had two virtual history teachers since the first day of school.

She says one teacher resigned after the first week and a week later, the replacement teacher also resigned.

"She's only 11 and she needs guidance. She needs a teacher so if she has a question to be able to help her with and as you know, we don't have one of those," said Williams.

Williams isn't the only one without a teacher. One parent who didn't want to go on camera told me her 8th grader still doesn't have teachers for two different subjects.

"We should have been ready to start when it was time to start school," said parent, Amanda McGrew.

McGrew says her daughter didn't have a teacher for the full first week of school.

"I think at this point they will probably be a little behind and they will play catch-up for the rest of the semester," said McGrew.

Superintendent Dr. Shearouse says the district has hired 24 virtual teachers over the last few weeks and is wanting to hire even more.

"If we had pulled all those teachers from traditional schools and put them in virtual, then we would have large class sizes and we wouldn't be able to social distance," said Dr. Shearouse.

WAAY 31's Casey Albritton then asked him why teachers were quitting after the school year started.

"There are great needs for teachers across this country and so it's very competitive and sometimes they get better job offers. One teacher needed to spend more time with her grandchildren," said Shearouse.

Williams says her daughter is still receiving work, but with no guidance from a teacher, it's hard for her to keep up.

"I think she is going to fall really behind in history," said Williams.

"Any particular need a parent has, we are trying to address those," said Shearouse.

Dr. Shearouse says the district is trying to hire as quickly as possible and for students who are getting their teachers late, assignment due dates will be pushed back.

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