CENTRAL SQUARE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The start of the new year has been a struggle for many Central New York school districts, the COVID-19 post-holiday surge to blame.
Cases among both students and staff are rising. Some schools have even been forced to go remote, but for schools trying to keep students in the classroom, the struggle for districts to fill those staff positions is only getting worse.
At Central Square School District, nearly 700 total positive COVID cases have been reported throughout the pandemic. Now, the need for more substitutes is crucial.
The staffing shortages have caused so much disruption, Colabufo and other administrators have had to fill in as substitute teachers and drive students if there aren’t enough bus drivers.
I have gone in the classrooms as the superintendent. My assistant superintendent, my director of elementary education and other administrators have gone into classrooms. We also have our occasional driver certification from the DMV which allows us to drive students in vans. It’s literally all hands on deck.Tom Colabufo, Superintendent, Central Square School District
Central Square has a number of openings. The district is looking to hire long-term substitutes and teaching assistants, but the shortage goes beyond instructional roles.
Other substitute positions that need to be filled include:
- School Nurse (must hold an RN Certificate)
- Food Service Helper
- Custodial Workers
- School Bus Drivers & Monitors
Colabufo said the Board of Education had granted him permission as superintendent to hire a substitute candidate at any time. In normal times, a candidate would need to be approved by the board before they can start working.
“In every district, the board has to approve the hiring of anybody,” Colabufo said. “In times like this, most board of educations have granted the authority to the superintendent to get those jobs filled.”
If you’re interested in becoming a substitute teacher, you do not need a New York State teaching certification. Central Square’s educational requirement is that you have a bachelor’s degree and apply as a “non-certified substitute teacher,” which includes retirees and college, graduate students.
A New York State Teaching Assistant certification is required to obtain a full-time position.
Our goal is to remain in person and that’s been our goal and I think that’s the goal of every school district because we know what happens when students are home remotely. Nothing compares to having kids in the classroom so having substitutes and having the ability to be able to keep in-person going is essential.Tom Colabufo, Superintendent, Central Square School District
Central Square is also adopting the CDC’s recent 5-day isolation guidance for fully vaccinated employees who test positive for COVID to ease the burden on current staff..