Hampton Roads area schools working to navigate staffing issues exacerbated by COVID

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As cases of COVID-19 continue to pop up in schools across the commonwealth, it’s highlighted already existing staffing shortages in classrooms.

The Virginia Beach Education Association reported more than 160 teachers calling out across the district’s middle and high schools on Jan. 3. WAVY News learned there weren’t enough substitutes to fill those classes, which meant central office staff was deployed to support schools that needed it.

A week later, on Jan. 11, the VBCPS school board released a three-level operation that would make that type of response to fill classrooms almost automatic if need be.

It’s not an issue that’s unique to VBCPS. Schools across the country were working to navigate staffing shortages long before the pandemic.

How can we tackle the shortage of workers in local school districts before the issue is exacerbated by staff needing to call out sick?

10 On Your Side sat down with VBCPS head of human resources, Anne C. Glenn-Zeljeznjak.

“We have a national teacher shortage, it’s been going on for a long time now,” said Glenn-Zeljeznjak.

Glenn-Zeljeznjak has been working in schools for more than 15 years, but has been around them her entire life. Between family members working in education and her own career, Glenn-Zeljeznjak knows exactly how valuable giving back can be.

“I would love to win the lottery, but I’ve won the lottery a million times over. From what I can make in that interaction, there’s no amount of money that can surpass that,” she said.

Glenn-Zeljeznjak acknowledges that there’s a shortage and it’s putting a high strain on the staff schools do have.

“It’s bad. We count on our substitute pool. We need them desperately in the best of times,” said Virginia Beach Education Association President Kathleen Slinde about January 3.

That’s why Virginia Beach City Schools and some surrounding districts are looking to make more hires.

There aren’t just teaching positions. Glenn-Zeljeznjak adds that bus drivers, substitutes, custodians, and other paid opportunities are available for just about every skill level.

School LocalityTeachers Needed Subs. Needed Bus Drivers NeededApply Here
Chesapeake64*Unidentified #131https://bit.ly/3GlTGM5
Hampton30Outsourced Subs.23https://bit.ly/3trgPtf
Newport News12850-6093https://bit.ly/3GC9tH7
Norfolk*Unidentified # *Unidentified #50+https://bit.ly/3qjAIAg
Suffolk55“Dire Need”15https://bit.ly/3HTjRKG
Virginia Beach*Unidentified #*Unidentified #120+https://bit.ly/3nkf9xG
York Co.23*Unidentified #24https://bit.ly/3tjLCI6
Data Courtesy of Individual School Spokespersons on 1/12/22 (*Unidentified # means the info was not readily available)

Several school districts are hosting upcoming job fairs.

Hampton City Schools: Multiple teacher job fairs/recruitment events (in-person and virtually) during the months of February and March are scheduled. A Hampton City Schools Virtual Teacher Recruitment Fair will be held from March 1 to March 3. Details are being finalized for this event, but candidates can register soon by clicking here.

Hampton’s starting pay for bus drivers is a minimum of $15.73/hour (it may be higher based on experience). In addition, they’re offering a sign-on bonus of $750 (after taxes). No experience is necessary. CDL training is provided and trainees receive $11/hour. Walk-in bus driver interviews are every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Patriot Operations Center, 1589 Wingfield Dr. Hampton, 23666.

York County School District: Job fair on Feb. 2.

Norfolk Public Schools: NPS seeks more than 50 school bus driver and substitute applicants, and is hosting a job fair on January 19th at 966 Bellmore Ave, Norfolk, VA 23504.

Norfolk Public Schools accepts substitute teacher applications on a rolling basis through the year. Interested, qualified individuals can apply for the substitute position here: https://norfolkpsd.tedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=1315.

Individuals can apply for any position by visiting the NPS jobs site at https://norfolkpsd.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx. Helpful Hint: Use the search bar to find specific positions that match your interests/qualifications.

Stay with WAVY.com for more local education updates.

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