Actions To Address Teacher Shortages Exacerbated By COVID-19

Submitted on October 30, 2020 by:
Matt Finster

Several West Virginia schools have had to close due to shortages(link is external)(link is external) in teachers and substitutes stemming from coronavirus outbreaks. Across the region and nation there are similar stories regarding teacher shortages (see, for example, Tennessee(link is external)(link is external),  Wisconsin(link is external)(link is external)Houston(link is external)(link is external), and Connecticut(link is external)(link is external)). To address teacher and substitute shortages, states and/or districts have taken immediate action, including: 



States could also consider mitigating current teacher shortages by loosening or wavering requirements for renewing teacher licenses and/or license reciprocity. Given the high rates of state unemployment(link is external)(link is external) compared to the previous year, such actions may provide a welcomed opportunity for previous educators to rejoin the teacher workforce. Any of these steps combined with a targeted marketing campaign to reach applicable individuals may be a way to boost the teacher and substitute applicant pool to address shortages.  Additionally, districts and states need to track real-time teacher supply and demand metrics to adjust quickly to rapidly changing conditions. RC5 staff could support SEAs in assessing and addressing these needs.