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COVID: Staffing Shortage Has Fremont Schools Desperate for Substitute Teachers

FREMONT (KPIX) -- Like many Bay Area school districts coping with staffing shortages due to the omicron-fueled surge in COVID cases, Fremont is putting out a call for substitute teachers.

The Fremont Unified School District is hardly alone in this. School systems far and wide are desperate for people to staff classrooms. So who, exactly, are they looking for?

"We are looking for someone who has, in their core, a compassionate heart for kids," said Fremont Unified Superintendent CJ Cammack.

Cammack says the most important thing is being able to connect with students, and that doesn't necessarily take experience.

"It's not a prerequisite to have classroom teaching experience first. As a matter of fact," he explained. "Substitute teaching is often the first place that teachers start."

Substitutes won't be teaching from scratch. They'll be helping students along with work they've already started.
"Our classroom teachers generally leave great lesson plans for our substitute teachers to utilize," Cammack says.

So if this sounds like something one might be interested in, Cammack suggests prospective substitutes ask themselves a couple questions.

"Do they have an interest in working with children?" Cammack asks. "And if they do, what age group? Maybe some individuals are really interested in elementary students. Maybe some individuals are more interested in secondary subject matter such as math or science."

The district has been fortunate enough to find 40 new substitutes this year, which has helped keep classrooms open.

"We've been hearing reports from the Alameda County Schools that they had trouble with substitute teachers and staffing," said Fremont parent Hubert Sim.

The shortage actually predates the pandemic. COVID -- and now the omicron surge -- have only exacerbated the problem.

"Certainly the need for substitutes will continue," Cammack said. "It's been a need for over 6 years in schools. It will be a need after we are done with COVID-19, whenever that may be."

Substitutes can accept or decline jobs on any given day. So there is flexibility there. It's also one of the reasons school districts always need more substitutes standing by.


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