FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — The nationwide teacher shortage continues pushing schools to adjust in an already stressful time.

Superintendent Gary Hough of Fayette County Schools said his county, like so many across the nation, struggles not only finding teachers, but substitute teachers as well. Despite the less severe symptoms of the Omicron variant, Hough said it spreads much faster and affects a larger number of his teachers at once. This pushes him to get creative in making sure his students aren’t missing out.

“We go out a substitute some, everybody in my office does to try to help with that issue. And then we…when the teachers are willing too, we’re willing to pay ’em for their planning periods to help go in for that teacher and then we do some pre-assignment of students.”

Gary Hough, Superintendent of Fayette County Schools

For retired teacher turned substitute Christopher Pinnick, making the move back into the classroom was simply something he couldn’t say no to. He said teaching is a passion for him that he really enjoys and hopes others will bring their passion to the classroom, particularly now.

“I would encourage anyone who has an incline to substitute to come out and give it a try. We have some good people to help you though, give you direction if you aren’t sure what you’re doing we have some great administrators here in Fayette County.”

Christopher Pinnick Fayette County Schools

The West Virginia Department of Education offers substitute teaching permits for short term and long term which both require a Bachelors degree. When asked if the state should lower requirements for substitutes, Hough was hesitant on that move.

Hough said, “One of the things we want to be very careful of, and I’ll be real honest with you, is we still feel like we have to have some quality for our students we’ve got to be very careful.”

While schools in Fayette County remain open for the short term, thanks to Hough’s practices getting enough teachers for his students, he is hopeful the State will continue to work with the counties for a long-term solution.