Substitute Shortage & Rise in Teacher Absences


Photos by Jeinily Bencon

Samantha Miragliotta, Features Editor

   Missing teachers, not enough substitute teachers, or even faculty to cover for them is the reality we face post pandemic. With the spread of Covid-19, the pandemic has dramatically impacted the presence of teachers at schools. According to BBC News, the latest data shows, “8.6% of teachers and school leaders were absent – and 4.9% were absent because of Covid, up from 3% on 16 December.” Particularly, at Pembroke Pines Charter we have seen teacher absences grow, as well as an increase in substitute shortage. 

   Experts from US News state, “While nationwide cases are declining, the U.S. is still well above any previous peak the country has seen.” Scientists conclude that Covid cases have decreased in the US, but many states have yet to peak. This mix in results and cases vary; they  decline and increase constantly. This raises the question: what does this mean for Charter? Well, due to these staggering statistics it can be said that the link between teacher absences is teachers contracting covid. The only way to prevent further teacher absences is for teachers and students to protect themselves and others from the virus best they can.

    In addition to this, millions of schools find themselves understaffed and without substitutes to perform instructional and classroom processes for teachers absent. Also, it was discovered that teachers have been absent at PPCHS from school, far more often than in previous years. It’s been confirmed that COVID-19 is one of the main reasons that this has happened. Senior, Briana James, explains, “The teachers being absent from school this year is definitely a huge difference. It’s become a norm to have class in the gym or the River of Grass due to the teacher, and sub, shortages. This can really affect our learning and usual bonding with the teachers, since they’re never here. I miss the old days when the teachers used to come to school everyday and be able to build relationships with the students.” Without teachers present at school,  it makes students receiving a fulfilling day of learning difficult and presents obstacles and challenges. 

Photos by Jeinily Bencon

   Oftentimes, the shortage of teachers and substitutes has resulted in students having no one to teach them, and they are left going to the gymnasium for class. Junior, Reef Ostendorf, agrees that, “many times I have had to go to the gymnasium because my teacher had been absent and I don’t think there was a sub to cover for them.” Nevertheless,  progressively this issue seems to be growing and depends on the fluctuation of Covid. Ostendorf went on to tell us that she hopes these issues will be resolved soon and that teachers stay healthy and safe. Moving on, another reason that there could be less substitute teachers is that fewer people want to pursue a career in education.

   This is not happening in the US alone but millions of schools everywhere face the same struggles including a huge drop in attendance for both students and faculty. We can only hope that the spread of Covid-19 begins to decline, and teachers and students will continue to stay present in the classroom.