Eau Claire (WQOW)- With the school year now underway, the Eau Claire Area School District is seeing a predicted shortage of substitute teachers.
Eau Claire schools partner with EDUStaff, a staffing company that connects substitute teachers to the district.
EDUStaff says they are roughly 80 staff members short of their target goal of teachers for the school year.
Officials say they've seen a shortage for years, but COVID-19 has worsened the issue.
So far, not many subs have been requested over the first two weeks of class, but the shortage could create issues later in the year.
"Earlier in the year, to be a little under the numbers when the requests aren't great is okay," said Steve Glocke, an EDUStaff recruiter for Wisconsin. "But obviously we want to fill more positions because the numbers will increase, and the need for more subs will happen as we get through the next few weeks of school."
Glocke says 50-60 employees have opted out of teaching due to COVID-19 concerns, and they are currently training new substitutes each week. The Eau Claire Area School District hired a number of EDUStaff subs to become full-time employees for the hybrid instructional model, which also contributed to the shortage.