Recognizing Substitute Staff During COVID-19
Recognizing Substitute Staff During COVID-19

With widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts across the country are adjusting to distance education. Your prompt and effective response to this unprecedented situation is beyond praiseworthy. Yet, there’s one subset of your education team that can be easy to overlook – your substitute staff.

What can your district do to make sure these important team members continue to feel supported? Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen some innovative ideas from our partnering school districts which we’d like to share:

1. Include substitutes in virtual learning initiatives.

Even when working remotely, teachers can get sick or have other obligations that prevent them from teaching. Many substitutes would be eager to step in and provide virtual instruction.

2. Ask substitutes to create pre-recorded material.

While your teachers are busy translating lesson plans to online learning, your substitutes can be a valuable resource for creating supplementary content to have on-hand when needed.

3. Ask your substitute staff to help with meal distribution.

Many schools continue to offer meal services for students in need during closures. Several of our partnering districts have asked substitutes to help operate these programs.

4. Continue paying substitutes.

Some districts have decided to continue paying substitutes to keep them afloat during school closures – a gesture that is met with immense gratitude. If your district is unable to do so, you can direct them to apply for unemployment until schools reopen.

5. Maintain steady communication.

Sending an occasional email to your substitute pool is an easy way to let them know they haven’t been forgotten. Whether you’re communicating a work opportunity or simply sending them a quick note of solidarity, your substitutes will be delighted to hear from you.

Keeping your substitute population engaged while schools are closed is a great measure to ensure these valuable team members are ready and willing to resume their roles once school is back in session. Don’t hesitate to contact ESS if there’s anything we can do to help your school district navigate these unusual circumstances. We’re all in this together!