By Megan Wehring
Ahead of the start of school later this week, Hays CISD is still looking to fill teaching positions.
Due to the state of Texas not providing funding for full virtual learning, the district is offering a Homebound Academy program for students who may need to stay home for medical reasons if they have a doctor’s note. This has increased the need for more teachers but Hays CISD does not know how many will be required just yet.
“We don’t know exactly how many students are going to be in it,” said Dr. Fernando Medina, chief human resources officer. “It’s a whole different type of teaching model that we don’t traditionally staff for every single year.”
The number of teachers needed will be driven by the amount of interest and students qualified for homebound instruction, Medina explained.
Certified bilingual and special education teachers are always in high demand. Hays CISD is also looking to increase its number of guest or substitute instructors, as many teachers have to cover another class if somebody is absent.
“When a teacher is not able to come into work,” Medina said, “what happens is other teachers are having to cover. What we need to do is ensure that we have a good pool of substitutes so when that happens, we can send a guest teacher to fill in that gap. We have had, as you might imagine, during COVID a higher need of substitutes yet our pool is smaller.”
Every school district is struggling right now as many substitutes are retired teachers or people looking for additional income. Older staff members have been less likely to take guest teacher roles because they are at higher risk for COVID-19, Medina explained.