A nationwide substitute shortage on all levels of school employment is being felt both at the Pacifica School District and at the Jefferson Union High School District.

PSD Superintendent Heather Olsen wrote in an email to the Tribune that some openings are unfilled.

“We, like other school districts across the country, are experiencing a lack of substitutes for both teaching positions and support positions,” she wrote. “On a given day, we may have one or two substitute teaching positions unfilled. Principals have filled in when positions are not covered.”

PSD has positions posted for substitute teacher, substitute school assistant, substitute noon yard supervisor, substitute paraprofessional, substitute custodian, and substitute food service worker. All are posted on pacificasd.org under human resources.

Due to staffing shortages, JUHSD does not have a pool of available classified substitute employees, Austin Worden, the district’s director of communications, wrote in an email to the Tribune. Classified employees are classroom aides, custodians, food service workers and office workers.

“Any classified person we are able to hire is employed into a position,” he wrote.

JUHSD Superintendent Toni Presta said JUHSD has a plan to deal with the substitute teacher shortage.

“To decrease the number of unfilled

teacher absences, JUHSD has partnered with two contract agencies to help provide coverage when we do not have enough district substitute teachers to cover all our teacher absences,” she wrote in an email to the Tribune.

“We are pleased to share that during two board meetings in September, we successfully onboarded eight new district substitute teachers, along with our current student teachers,” she wrote. “Of note, we are pleased to welcome back two of our recently retired teachers as district substitute teachers. We will continue to help each other as our site staffs are working so hard to support our district students.”

EdSource reported in 2020 the California substitute shortage on all levels, compounded by the pandemic, could close some schools.

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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