Schools tap college kids, administrators to fill in for sick, quarantining

In a memo, the OPS human resources department said central office staff would likely be assigned to hard-to-fill positions and buildings. They may be asked to substitute in an area outside their certification or experience, the memo said.

In other districts, it’s a similar story.

The Bellevue Public Schools started school with a 96.1% fill rate, but that was down to 61.3% for the week ending Nov. 13, the district said.

The Elkhorn Public Schools, the first week of school, had 150 sub requests and filled 97%. For the week of Nov. 9-13, requests were at 449 and the fill rate 79%.

In the Papillion La Vista Community Schools, the first-week fill rate was 97%, but it fell to 86% two weeks ago — a year ago in November it was in the high 90s.

“It is definitely compounded during COVID time,” said Kati Settles, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources.

The district is averaging 8.75 unfilled teaching jobs a day, better than some districts, but they’ve had some rough days, Settles said.

“Our highest day was 23, and that was a really bad day for us,” she said. “We were able to support by sending out some other people on those days, but the truth of it is everybody’s job is harder during COVID.”

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