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Northeastern School District is taking steps to address an urgent need for substitute teachers and substitute nurses, administrators said during a recent school board meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Stacey Sidle said she can't pinpoint a reason for the shortage, but officials are exploring recruitment and certification efforts to supplement the district's team.

The need for substitutes changes every day, she said.

Other than teachers being out for sick leave, substitutes are needed when the staff is working to fulfill their professional training requirements, she said.

Special events in the buildings also can call regular staff away from classrooms or open the need for a substitute.

Requirements: People interested in being long-term substitutes must have a teaching degree and all required background checks.

Those interested in being day-to-day or on-call substitutes can participate in the district's Guest Teacher Program, which is open to applicants with a four-year college degree in any discipline.

The applicant must have completed background checks and completed the district's guest teacher training program as well as have received emergency teacher certification from the state Department of Education.

School board members discussed the possibility of hosting a guest-teacher "boot camp" to expedite certifying applicants.

Northeastern has 20 substitutes for elementary education, eight for special areas and only seven for secondary education, Sidle said.

When a substitute can't be found, building principals or other professional staff may cover a class, she said. If that isn't feasible, staff might combine classrooms for the day, she said.

Nurses: Sidle said the district also is seeing increased student medical needs, and officials currently have five substitute nurses on their list.

During the last few years, the district has used a medical staffing agency to supplement the substitutes. The agency has helped, but there are still times when the district cannot provide a substitute nurse, Sidle said.

Spring is when they have the most need for nurses, as a majority of field trips are taken in spring and schools need nursing staff to go on the trips and serve in the buildings.

Anyone interested in serving as a substitute teacher or nurse should contact Melissa Aguirre, director of human resources, at aguirrem@nebobcats.org or 717-266-3667.

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