Vernon. The Vernon Township School District Board of Education on Jan. 11 unanimously approved a recommendation from Assistant Superintendent Charles McKay to raise the pay for substitute teachers to $125 per day.
The measure runs through June 30.
McKay said the district has been averaging about 23 substitutes per day, up from about 13 in previous years. He attributed the increase in the need to the Covid-19 pandemic, and said it’s possible social distancing measures could stretch into the 2021-22 school year.
“There’s no way we can last two years dealing with the amount of absences we have,” McKay said. “If someone goes home and has a relative test positive, we lose them for 14 days. All those things are playing large right now.”
When the district is short on substitute teachers, it doesn’t have the option it does in normal years. The auditorium can hold 700 students, but only 200 with social distancing in place. Students in the auditorium are usually working on their Chromebooks.
And even when a teacher is instructing students from home, a certified teacher still needs to be in the classroom.
“You still have to have a certified teacher supervising,” Superintendent Karen D’Avino said. “The learning, in some cases, is still continuing. Unless you have someone who is really ill and can’t deliver instruction.”