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Amid In-Person School Decisions, J.O. Combs District Seeks Substitute Teachers

The J.O. Combs Unified School District in San Tan Valley was set to open in-person Aug. 17, but so many teachers called in sick, the  district had to postpone. The district is now short on substitute teachers, too. 

The district is  hiring substitute teachers for the new year. Kayla Fulmer with the district said there’s often a shortage of substitute teachers in Arizona, but this year is made harder by the pandemic. She said the district usually has 60 to 70 substitutes available, but this year the pool has dwindled to 25.

“With COVID recently it obviously has impacted our available subbing levels simply because we have a good number of folks who don’t yet feel comfortable returning to the classroom," Fulmer said. 

The school board will review reopening benchmarks Thursday with a  tentative plan to reopen for in-person instruction next week.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.