School districts have increased pay and advertised openings to help combat teacher’s on leave or sick leave due to COVID-19. However, for the parents, it is also a way for them to get their children back into school instead of virtual learning.
Ginny Merrifield, executive director of the Parent Association of North County, said parents are willing to help deliver a solution and work in partnership with the districts.
“Parents will do anything to get their kids back in school,” she said. “This was not designed to cause problems.”
Middle and high school students in the San Dieguito Union High School District and Carlsbad and Vista Unified school districts will not return until late January.
The requirements may differ from district to district, according to a review of each district’s application. All, though, require a bachelor’s degree, fingerprints and to pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test or provide SAT or ACT scores in place of the CBEST, according to a spokesperson from the PANC.
Amy Caterina, a former board president of the Del Mar Educational and Canyon Crest foundations, is just one of many obtaining her credentials. While her two kids have graduated from the district, she has spent years involved with various roles of the district but has grown weary of the delays.
However, she has grown weary of what she says is consistent pushback from the union and said she’s unsure of whether there is the “will” to move forward. Caterina said other districts, such as Rancho Santa Fe, have done well with preparations and creating the safest environment possible.
Still, she’s doubtful the district or teachers union will allow students to return this year.
“The district has been beholden to the union for too long,” Caterina said. “Proctors are a very reasonable solution. I know there is a safe way, but there is no will.”
In Carlsbad, Scott Davison has been a vocal critic of CUSD and the teacher’s union for months as reopening plans have been pushed back time and again. While Carlsbad has different requirements for its substitutes, he said the goal is to support teachers who cannot or will not go back into the classroom.
Davison said a possible solution is for parents to also act as proctors for those teachers, saying kids are in need of returning to school.
“The parent association wants to help recommend as many subs as possible for North County,” Davison said. “We don’t want any more excuses.”
In Del Mar, Hannah Miller, who coaches volleyball at Torrey Pines High School, said she is also in the process of submitting her application to the SDUHSD. The process has mostly been pain-free, although there is a delay with her fingerprints.
Miller said as a coach she has already been fingerprinted, but there is a different fingerprinting process for teachers, which is holding up her application. Regardless, she said she hopes to be approved in the next few weeks and wants to help students return to the classroom as safely as possible.
Also, the pay is added bonus as SDUHSD is offering $250 per day, while CUSD recently increased its substitute pay to $160 per day.