Rapid City Area Schools has less than half of the substitute teachers necessary to cover for increasing staff absences due to COVID-19.
The District currently has 163 active substitutes, nearly half of the estimated 250 subs RCAS has in a non-pandemic year, according to RCAS spokesperson Katy Urban. Right now, schools are filling about 40-50% of teacher absences with substitutes, she said. In a normal year, the substitute fill rate was 97-98%.
“There is a substitute shortage, and it is a major challenge,” Urban told the Journal on Thursday.
In order to ensure all classes are covered, schools have been pulling paraprofessionals and administrators to monitor classes as well as splitting classes and having students go into other classrooms.
“This is less than ideal, but it has been necessary in order to make sure our students have adequate supervision and instruction,” Urban said.
As of Thursday morning, 27 staff members are out sick with COVID-19 and 39 are in quarantine, according to the COVID dashboard on the RCAS website.