DOE scrambles to find hundreds of subs amid COVID staffing shortages

With hundreds of substitute teacher positions unfilled during the first week of school, one Hilo woman begins filling in this week.
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 5:12 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:37 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Education is scrambling to find hundreds of substitute teachers after more than 1,800 educators called in sick last Friday.

On Friday, the DOE reported 442 unfilled substitute teacher positions.

Schools and DOE administrators have said that the ongoing COVID surge has driven up absences among both teachers and students.

The 1,812 teachers who were on sick leave Friday account for about 14% of their teacher workforce. DOE says the unfilled sub jobs are currently being covered by other school personnel.

Patricia Tratebas, of Hilo, said she recently got approved by the department to become a substitute teacher. Tratebas said applying for the DOE was a lengthy process.

Because of her age, she said she is nervous teaching during the pandemic but is happy subbing in for a class she enjoys.

“What’s exciting is I’m teaching in the garden, my whole background is I’m a landscape designer,” said Tratebas. “And so that’s really fun.”

“And it just so happened that I was already going through the whole process to become a sub anyway,” said Tratebas.

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