STOW, Ohio — As some districts in Northeast Ohio are back in school for face-to-face learning, there’s an added pressure for employers: beefing up their substitute and support staff.
Whether it’s working with kids in the classroom or making sure they get to campus safely, Michael Kostyack of the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District said adults are reluctant to accept positions as substitute teachers and bus drivers.
“It's always been challenging to find this position. It's just been magnified this year,” Kostyack said. “There's a reluctance with quarantine to be out there anywhere, much less driving a school bus.”
Various district officials in Northeast Ohio told News 5 they’ve even started outsourcing through private companies to find qualified adults to fill those positions.
“I’m sure there's some fear that they could be exposed and they could, in turn, expose someone in their family,” Bob Wolf said. “So we've experienced it firsthand in some of our preschool classrooms.”
Kostyack said the need for bus drivers is critical for sporting events and students whose parents can’t drop them off at school during the current hybrid learning model.
“With a lot of fluid situations, we may need a bus driver or within a day or two’s notice,” Kostyack said. “So we want to build that sub pool so we have people that we could call upon in a pinch.”
Wolf said the Summit Educational Service Center is actively recruiting qualified subs, but that a lack of interest in the education field has created a barrier in recent years.
“Let them get the background check they need. We will help them fill out the paperwork to apply for their certification or license,” Wolf said. “There are just fewer graduates in the education colleges. The interest in education has somewhat dwindled.”
The organization is hosting a substitute recruitment event on Tuesday, September 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Summit Educational Service Center in Cuyahoga Falls. The facility is located at 420 Washington Ave.