Dothan City Schools increase substitute rates due to staff shortages

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 3:42 PM CST
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When one door opens, another door closes. in this instance it’s anything but optimism. A problem Dothan City Schools is facing due to staff shortages.

“Unfortunately we have had to close some schools, individual schools. We started out at the Early Education Center just closing classrooms but we’ve got to a point where we felt like it was better to shut down the entire school for this week,” Dennis Coe, Dothan City Schools acting superintendent said.

Through a new reporting form DCS has installed, staff is able to monitor Covid-19 numbers anytime. An important tool when decisions must be made.

“Not only we do we get more accurate information but it’s all in one place where we can just go to one form, we can pull the information and we know what school to go to. Especially the quicker the parents do it or the staff does it, the quicker we can get them quarantined, out of the schools to keep all of our schools as safe as possible,” Heather Johnson, healthcare liaison for Dothan City Schools said.

As of January 11th, 225 total students are out, 15 of those positive for Covid-19. 51 staff members are out, 28 of those tested positive for Covid-19.

“The monitoring goes over the weekend, yes. Principals, nurses, everybody monitors this form. So anytime we need to quarantine over the weekend it definitely happens, after hours,” Johnson said.

Dothan City Schools has come up with a way to help resolve the issue.

“The staffing continues to be an issue as a result of shortage of substitutes, we have recently increased our substitute rates for employment. For someone who doesn’t have a degree or just a high school diploma, we’ll start out at 70 dollars a day all the way up to 90 dollars a day for those that have a degree,” Coe said.

But for now, they stay hopeful for the chance to receive the vaccine.

“All of our employees, all school employees to me are critical employees. They’re providing an invaluable service and so I’m hoping when the vaccine becomes available, our staff will take advantage of it, just simply for their protection,” Coe said.

Dothan Early Education Center students will return to school on Tuesday, January 19th.

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