State lowers barriers to hiring teachers amid Covid-related shortages – Action News Now

With the popularity of Omicron, Kansas urgently needs to fill the educational staffing gap so that 18-year-old high school graduates can qualify as substitute teachers

At least one U.S. state is struggling to find enough teachers to keep classrooms open that it will hire teens who were high school students less than a year ago as temporary educators.

This Kansas State Board of Education An emergency declaration was approved Wednesday, temporarily relaxing the district’s minimum requirements for supply teachers. The new rules only require candidates to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, pass a background check and fill out an application.

For the remainder of the academic year, applicants will no longer be required to complete at least 60 credits of accredited college coursework (equivalent to four semesters of full-time coursework) in order to be licensed.State Education Commissioner Randy Watson tell the board members He knows of at least four districts that are on the brink of closing schools due to teacher shortages.

Derby Public Schools in southeastern Kansas immediately began using the relaxation certificate as a recruiting tool, tweeting about Wednesday’s board vote. “Having consistent and reliable alternatives is critical to providing our students with an exceptional educational experience,” Tweets in the area. “Even registering for just two days a month can have a huge impact on our schools.”

But state committee member Melanie Haas reportedly called the measure a “The last resort,” Said some teachers were angry at lowering standards because it made them feel “Very depreciated.”

Even before the Omicron variant caused Covid-19 infections to soar to record highs, many U.S. school districts were already facing teacher shortages. The rise in new cases has led to severe disruptions, such as those that have resulted in the cancellation of thousands of American Airlines flights in recent weeks. As more teachers are marginalized, more and more replacements are called for.

States and school districts across the country have taken various steps to help fill the gap. In Virginia, for example, schools are increasingly hiring college students to teach courses. Elsewhere, some districts have raised wages to attract more replacements, while others are urging parents to help fill vacancies.

San Antonio Northside Independent School District told local CBS News affiliate this week kens tv Substitute teachers are currently teaching approximately 60% of the class and may relax their normal requirement for a substitute teacher to have at least 90 hours of college credit.