What happened when I tried to become a substitute teacher
In December 2021, it became clear that the latest COVID-19 variant — omicron — would impact schools after the holiday break. Thanks to the widespread accessibility of vaccines, the mild nature of omicron infections, and nearly two years of protocols that limit COVID transmissions inside schools remarkably well, I was not worried about sending my kids — a 7th grader and 10th grader — to their large public schools in our 60,000-person Connecticut town. Even more importantly, they were not worried. They wanted to go back to school.
We all knew, though, that opening schools would require having enough grown-ups — in all buildings, most classrooms, many periods, every day. And clearly omicron wasn’t going to let that happen. Teachers, paraprofessionals, aides, administrators, custodians, security officers, and all the other essential adults in the school community would have to take days off for a variety of reasons — symptomatic COVID cases, asymptomatic COVID cases, symptoms that were caused by something other than COVID, quarantined kids or other family members, not to mention PTO for dentist appointments, out-of-town weddings, personal days, and all the other relics of pre-pandemic life.