The recent Omicron spike caused some chaos last week for schools. Without enough staff, or enough substitutes, districts had to make changes.
One local bank that is stepping up to help give some relief to teachers and schools.
The president and CEO of Watermark Bank Matt Pollock says he believes the community can take action now to provide relief to teachers and schools as they face ongoing challenges due to COVID.
“We need our teachers in the classroom with the kids we can’t replace them, but we can help them for a day,” Pollock said.
He plans to pay his employees to substitute two days a month and cover the cost of their certification.
There are several employees with Watermark that are just weeks away from substitute teaching.
“It’s longer than i would like it to be, i would like for us to be in the classroom next week, but we’ll do what we need to do to make sure that we can help as soon as possible,” Pollock said.
Pollock posted about his plans over the weekend. That post got a lot of buzz. The superintendent of Deer Creek schools Jason Perez, saw the post and wants to help get Watermark Bank staff ready for their first day.
“I just feel like, if he’s willing to say, hey we’re willing to commit to have our staff come and help, I wanted to find out how we could make that process easier and more conducive to his employees that have an interest in helping, it’s about a partnership,” Perez said.
Deer Creek schools went virtual or closed temporarily for part of last week after COVID cases spiked in their district.
Perez says it's all hands on deck.
“Everyone’s just trying to pitch in wherever they can. I know that in Deer Creek we’ve basically emptied out our administration building of any of us that can substitute, that can be a benefit in the classroom for our schools and our students, and I know that a lot of other districts are doing the exact same thing,” Perez said.
The challenge to safely stay open continues for many schools.
Pollack hopes more businesses come up with solutions to help out.
“At the end of the day, you have to take action. whatever that means for an organization, maybe it's like, what we’re doing, maybe it is providing some kind of financial support,” said Pollock.
If you want to become a substitute teacher, call your local district. https://sde.ok.gov/state-school-directory
The required certification process and background check takes up to four weeks.
The State Department of Education has more information about other types of teacher certification on their website. https://sde.ok.gov/teacher-certification