The search for substitutes

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A student watches Mrs. Rokita teach virtually while guidance counselor Mrs. Rogers substitutes. Rogers had to fill in the place of the teacher in order to maintain adult supervision. Photo by: Jordan Znosko

Riley Knestrict, Web content editor-in-chief

   As the COVID-19 numbers increase, so do the number of students and teachers who are quarantined. With the pandemic still surging, there has been one question on everyone’s mind: will school be able to remain in person? According to Principal Sean Begley, this question relies on another simple question he asks himself every day, “Can I run the building safely and effectively with what I have?”

   So far, the answer to this question has been yes. The school is not dead set on staying open, nor is it set on shutting it down, but on the students’ best interests. The main problem with keeping the school open will not be because of the students being sent home but because of the lack of faculty in the building. 

   “On Nov. 5, we had 55 out of 226 total staff out, including teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, kitchen staff, administrators and guidance counselors,” Mr. Begley said.

   Regardless of whether or not a teacher is teaching the class online, there must be adult supervision in every classroom. The issue the high school is coming across now is not having enough substitute teachers to fill every missing teacher. 

   “We’re being creative and we’re covering things the best we can. We had to do 22 staff reassignments on Nov. 5,” Mr. Begley said.

Staff at the school such as paraprofessionals and even secretaries have had to take the role of teachers in order for each classroom to have supervision. Principal Sean Begley has even had to take over in some classrooms, but everyone is trying to make the best out of this difficult situation. 

   “I think the teachers have done a phenomenal job. They are doing a great job of including the e-learning and in person students and have upped their game. Their level of instruction in this tough situation has been outstanding,” Begley said. 

   As of right now, the school has managed to find someone to fill every spot where there has been a missing teacher, but Begley admits that it is getting tough. COVID-19 has changed the world that we live in majorly, but having a positive outlook ensures that we can attempt to continue with life. 

   “We’ve got to figure out ways to give a positive high school experience and we do it by mitigating the risk, by social distancing and wearing masks and those types of things. We’re reducing the chance of spreading COVID, but we’re doing the best we can to continue to have life. You have to have some balance here. This is real, you can’t say this doesn’t exist, but we can’t say we’re just going to stop and lock ourselves down until this is completely over,” Begley said.