FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Fox Cities-area substitute teacher raises concerns over back-to-school plans

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — Districts across Northeast Wisconsin have started releasing plans for their return this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Jen Kramer, an area substitute teacher has concerns over those outlines.

“I couldn’t possibly be the only sub in that position,” she told Local 5 Wednesday.

Kramer works five days a week as a substitute for five different districts.

“When you sub you are usually waiting for a teaching job, left education, or are doing it to see if you’re going into education,” she explained.

She’s been a substitute teacher for more than three years.

“I work every day so that I can work, when school has off, I can work at another district,” she said.

One of the districts Kramer works with sent her an email that included a survey and provided some ideas for safety measures to protect teachers, “and then asked if we would consider to come back. Well, since it’s my paycheck and my livelihood and that’s how I feed my kids and pay my bills, I’m coming back,” Kramer said, “but I’m also very concerned.”

She’s in part concerned because, as a sub, she isn’t a full time employee.

“If I get COVID, they don’t pay for my leave,” Kramer explained. “I’m off of work a minimum of two weeks.”

Covering for up to five different teachers in a week, in a normal school year a sub sees a lot of different kids.

“I’m exposed to thousands of kids a week. Literally thousands,” Kramer said.

With no clear solutions, Kramer and other subs are left with questions.

“As a sub, how am I supposed to protect myself financially, and my health and my family’s health,” she asked.

Kramer told Local 5 that just as much as she needs to protect her family, schools will still need subs.

“If they decide to do an in-person situation of any kind, we’re going to be necessary,” she said.

The school year is quickly approaching, and from a sub’s perspective, plans are not yet complete.

“This is the first time anybody’s ever had to do this,” Kramer said of the situation, “but I think that there are a lot of things that every district hasn’t considered.”

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