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Sub and bus driver shortage adds hurdles to area schools

Area school districts are scrambling to keep their classrooms staffed. In some cases, this means using school staff from other departments to fill as substitute teachers.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 9:19 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Area school districts are scrambling to keep their classrooms staffed. In some cases, this means using school staff from other departments to fill as substitute teachers.

Between an increase of COVID cases and a lack of subs, it’s been a challenge having enough teachers from day to day. D.C. Everest told NewsChannel 7 that it’s a very fluid situation.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure any shortages do not deter from student learning,” D.C. Everest Area School District Human Resources Director, Kimberly Hall said.

Hall said a lack of subs is leading to a lot of internal shifting. She said anyone including principals, administrators and other district staff, including herself are picking up subbing shifts to help.

“I think the struggles are in the buildings, figuring out who’s going to go where and what they’re going to cover,” Hall said.

D.C. Everest normally has about 190 subs on staff, now they have 130. But, not all 130 are willing to sub because of COVID concerns.

“Sometimes when the numbers of COVID have leveled off then people are willing to sub, now they’re pretty high, some people aren’t willing to sub,” Hall said.

The lack of substitutes is making it hard on staff and students to plan ahead. On top of this, there’s a bus driver shortage. Lamers Bus Lines, who is contracted with D.C. Everest said in a statement, “the ongoing pandemic and current job market has multiplied the shortages that districts and bus companies face.”

On Monday, Jan. 17, Lamers is holding a “Drive the Bus” event in Weston to combat these challenges. It will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, Wausau School District’s bus company, First Student, is having these same hurdles. Since Tuesday, they’ve canceled five routes because of staffing. Wausau schools told NewsChannel 7 in a statement, “First Student has now received relief drivers from another First Student location to help run bus routes within our district.”

D.C. Everest said if you’re interested in becoming a substitute teacher, you need to take a sub training program and get licensed as a sub. For more information, follow the link to apply.

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