Pandemic worsens supply teacher shortage in mid-Missouri



Substitute teachers are needed in several Mid-Missouri school districts as students return to face-to-face classes this week.

Kerri Stith, president of the Columbia Missouri State Teachers Association (CMSTA), said many teachers had quit their jobs due to the stress of the pandemic.

Districts are asking staff and faculty to stay home even if they are feeling a little sick, which is another way the pandemic has increased the need for substitute teachers.

“We’ve always had classes that aren’t covered that the administration has to cover, or back in the days when we were combining the classes, but we can’t do that due to our current situation with the pandemic,” said Stith.

Stith said Missouri has suffered from a teacher shortage for years, but the pandemic has made it an even bigger problem.

“I’m entering my 17th year of teaching and we’ve always had a problem with a replacement shortage,” Stith said.

At its August meeting, the State Board of Education approved the 20-hour online training option for a replacement certificate. The rule comes into effect at the end of December 2021.

This means that instead of 60 credit hours, applicants can take the 20 hour training course.

School leaders said they fear lowering requirements will result in the hiring of poor-quality teachers, but they hope this will help alleviate the shortage.

“We have to make sure that we have people who will be in the classroom and who will make a difference, and not just a hot body in a classroom,” Stith said.

A high school diploma, GED, and background check are still required to apply for a replacement position.

Columbia, Moberly and Mexico, school districts as well as Helias Catholic L The school accepts all replacement applications.

Watch ABC 17 News at 10 p.m.

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