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Demand for substitute teachers doubles in Manatee County schools during pandemic

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Posted at 5:45 PM, May 10, 2021

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The pandemic has created a lot of unexpected problems, including the overwhelming need for substitute teachers.

"I remember a week where I had about 600 doctor's notes sitting on my desk," said Wendy Mungillo, Human Resources Director for Manatee County schools.

The district says between quarantines, vaccine side effects and overall burnout, the pandemic has caused teachers to take more sick days than usual, meaning a higher demand for substitutes.

According to the district, last month, 335 Manatee County teachers called out sick on one Friday; that's 10% of the teaching staff.

The district says there have been nearly 18,700 requests for subs this year at Manatee schools.

"Demand for subs nearly doubled this year over last," said Charlie Kennedy, Manatee County School Board chairman.

It's also a demand the school district did not budget for. Last week, the school board voted to add $760,000 of funding for substitute teachers to get them through the end of the school year.

The MCSB plans to hold a workshop this summer to figure out a long-term solution for the substitute teacher demand.