NewsRegionWashtenaw County


Labor shortage continues to impact school districts around metro-Detroit

Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 18:28:01-04

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Schools are sending out the word. They are hiring. Staffing shortages continue to cause problems at schools around metro Detroit.

On Friday, three schools in Ann Arbor offered only remote learning because there were not enough substitutes to teach in person.

When WXYZ asked the Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent for a response to the situation we got an unusual response. She could not because she was busy substitute teaching.

Forsythe Middle School, Huron, and Skyline High Schools all moved to remote learning for the day "due to high levels of staff illness and absence.”

“We made it work last year and we can make it work for a day this year,” said Teresa Jacobs, the mom of a middle school student.

For Jacobs and her daughter Emma, it worked out. Emma got her remote assignments done early so they could spend time together and get ready for her cousin’s wedding Friday. They both also say remote learning has really made them appreciate the value of in-person learning.

“I used to think, oh my God, I don’t want to go to school today, can I just sleep? But last year made me think. School really impacts my life,” said Emma.

“I hope it is not going to be a prolonged time though. It is so much better, in person, I think the education is a lot more sound,” said Teresa.

“It is so much fun and so much better than last year,” said Sam Alperon of in-person learning.

Sam is a senior at Skyline High School, who we spoke to as he enjoyed lunch at the Village Kitchen. He says he is making the best of it.

“We have to keep people safe. If we have to learn online that is totally fine,” said Sam.

This is not just an Ann Arbor problem. It seems every day school staffing shortages are causing issues for parents in metro Detroit.

Northville schools are canceling bus routes on a rotating basis starting Monday because it has fewer bus drivers than routes. Huron Valley Schools already did the same. The superintendent there says the district also does not have enough substitute teachers.

“Fortunately we have not had to move a building remote due to staffing shortages. I will say we are watching our fill rate very closely. And I have to give it up to our teachers and our building principals who are stepping up and subbing on their planning periods for example,” said Paul Salah, Huron Valley Schools Superintendent.