PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — Foreign Language Teacher, school counselor, electrician, and weightlifting coach are just a few examples of the positions to be filled in the Mercer County school system.
About 50 positions are vacant as students head back to school. Mercer County School Superintendent Deborah Akers attributed the vacancies to people choosing different career paths.
“Because there aren’t as many people going into education,” Akers said.
It is an issue they struggled with for years. Now, Akers said the COVID-19 pandemic is only making it worse.
“Due to health concerns or restrictions, they are not able to be in the classroom this year. We have some of our substitutes that are not working as regularly as they have in the past and a lot of them are retired teachers,” Akers explained.
Some teachers cannot be in the classroom due to health concerns. Akers said she has trouble recruiting more people to fill the positions because of the fear of COVID-19 exposure.
Currently, substitute teachers are in front of kids in the classrooms where there are vacant positions.
“52-02 substitutes, which is an individual if they have a four year degree and they can go through a training program and then they can become a substitute,” Akers explained.
Akers said those teachers cannot be hired, because they are not certified. Akers believes a legislation change could attract more people to a career in education.
“Teachers have so much of an impact on our future. And being able to have benefits and salaries to the level that it attracts people to go into that as a career, is something that is not where it needs to be and it needs to be addressed,” Akers said.