Teacher departures leave schools scrambling for substitutes

National News

Kay Orzechowicz poses Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, for a portrait at her Griffith, Ind., home. After 35 years of teaching, Orzechowicz said COVID-19 “pushed her over the edge” to retire from northwest Indiana’s Griffith High School at the end of July. Turning 58 in October, Orzechowicz had hoped to keep teaching for a few more years before retiring from the classroom. But after the pandemic intensified in March, the English teacher said her concerns about holding out mounted. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Many teachers are choosing not to return to the classroom because of the coronavirus threat, and schools around the U.S. are scrambling to find replacements.

In some places, that means lowering certification requirements to help get substitutes in the door.

Several states have seen surges in educators filing for retirement or taking leaves of absence.

The departures are straining staff in places that were dealing with shortages of teachers and substitutes even before the pandemic created an education crisis.

Teachers in at least three states have died after bouts with the coronavirus since the dawn of the new school year.

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