In an effort to address an anticipated substitute teacher shortage for the 2020-2021 school year, Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued a press release last week that read in part:

Travis Naughton

“Currently, individuals looking to obtain a substitute certificate must complete 60 semester hours or more of college-level credit from a DESE-recognized and regionally accredited academic degree granting institution. Following the State Board of Education’s decision today, individuals who possess a high school diploma or equivalent may complete a 20-hour state-approved substitute teacher online training to be eligible for a substitute certificate.”

I can attest to the fact that there has been an ongoing shortage of substitute teachers for the last several years. On many occasions, I have personally witnessed students being sent to other classrooms when a substitute could not be found to teach their class. With the very real possibility that teachers will be sent home to quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus when children return to crowded classrooms this fall, the need for qualified substitutes will be greater than ever before.