SUMMERS COUNTY, WV (WVNS) – As the new school year begins, local school districts face an old problem. Teacher shortages.
Summers County schools say they’re starting the new school year with ten open teaching positions.
Superintendent David Warvel told 59News the teacher shortage is affecting nearly every school district in the country, and Summers County is no exception. Warvel believes there are multiple factors contributing to the nationwide shortage.
“You have the baby boom generation slowly exiting. So that’s a big hurt on the (schools). The other is, ever since COVID came through a lot of people were able to hurt from home. That’s been enticing for people to say, ‘you know what, I might want to be a teacher but I might want to teach virtually now,” Warvel told 59News.
And it’s not just teachers that school districts are trying to hire. In fact, they’re looking for people at nearly every position in the entire school system.
“Every position that the school system currently has, whether custodial, an aide, bus drivers, any kind of job you can think of to make a school run smoothly, we’re hurting for qualified people that want to work in a school system,” said Warvel.
While some school districts are consolidating classes together, Summers County is trying a bit of a different strategy. They’ve partnered with two virtual learning institutes, Edgenuity and Proximity Learning, that teach virtual classes for subjects where they’ve struggled to find teachers. So students can be put in one classroom together, while all learning different lessons on their laptops.
But Warvel said the system does have its flaws.
“(Students) sit in a room, on a laptop, headphones on, in a classroom focusing on their teacher. So you can have 25 different kids in a classroom with 25 different teachers and 25 different subjects,” said Warvel. “That’s a different way of looking at doing business. But I don’t know that it’s the best way to do it, research shows it’s better to do it in person.”