School staffing is an issue during COVID-19

Local schools short substitutes for the classroom and for buses

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Keeping enough staff this school year continues to be an issue for some school systems.

“I can honestly say this year has probably been the most challenging,” said Jim Bradshaw, Roanoke County Public Schools Director of Human Resources.

We’re more than a month into the school year and local school systems say they’re short substitutes for the classroom and for buses.

We’re working for you on the openings they’re reporting.

Bradshaw says on top of substitutes they also need HVAC technicians and nutrition associates.

“We have seen some turnover, more than what we would normally have but we’re lucky that we have a lot of candidates to hopefully fill these positions and so far we’ve been able to do that,” said Bradshaw.

New candidates could be coming from new recruitment strategies. There are six electronic billboards up around the Roanoke Valley and magnets on the side of work vehicles. Bradshaw says it’s working.

There’s also a signing bonus this year. Roanoke County bus drivers get $2,000 and bus aides get $1,000.

Roanoke County has 32 openings across the school system.

Franklin County decided to go to virtual learning for some schools earlier this month because the number of COVID cases was rising and they didn’t have enough staff.

We checked in with school districts across our region and many of them are reporting the same issues--- needing substitutes in all areas of the school.

Halifax County still has eight teaching positions open.

Wythe County has multiple openings and says going back in person will mean even more openings.

The chart below breaks down the current openings across some of our region’s school districts:

School / School DistrictCurrent Openings
Alleghany CountyOne new teacher assistant as a result of increased enrollment
Amherst County2 contracted positions open for bus drivers, and hiring non-contracted (supplemental) support positions for childcare, custodial services and substitutes due to COVID-19
Bedford County12, with additional postings that are static - custodial and nutrition subs
Botetourt County8 openings. Most are in the following areas: Bus drivers/aides and coaching staff. In addition, the district anticipates a few special education instructional assistant positions to be posted
Carroll County5
Floyd CountyOne teacher vacancy, three bus driver openings (not uncommon), two cafeteria staff openings and one part-time office assistant opening
Franklin County14
Halifax County8 teaching positions
Henry CountyApproximately 37 (including both licensed and classified, full-time and part-time positions)
Lexington1 parapro, substitute custodian, substitute cafeteria worker, substitute teachers
Lynchburg21 certified and 32 classified
North Cross1
Roanoke City12
Roanoke County32, including all employee types
Salem3 classified positions
Wythe County3 certified and 3 classified. However, if learning returns to in-person, there could be 10 additional classified vacancies.

Certified positions are like teachers, while classified positions include secretaries, instructional assistants, etc.

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