Availability of Substitute Teachers
The NLTA understands that COVID-19 screening protocols and stay at home requirements will lead to spikes in teacher absenteeism during the school year. This, along with the substitute teacher shortage, may result in increased occurrences of situations in which not enough substitutes are available to address the needs of a particular school(s). In normal times, schools may reassign teachers or combine student groupings to address such matters. Prior to making decisions to take these measures which may contravene public health guidance on cohorts within schools, school administrators are advised to get direction from their Directors of Schools. In some instances, it may be necessary to cancel classes for some student groupings in a school.
In accordance with the MOA between the NLTA and the NL School Boards Association, 70 teachers have been hired in full-time, term contract “floater” positions until end of the 2020-21 school year for certain schools identified by the school districts based on an assessment of past substitute teacher need/demand. Teachers in these term positions are responsible for replacing absent regular teachers in the schools to which they are assigned, and their daily work assignments will therefore be subject to change as necessary. When a school’s needs cannot be met by the teacher(s) in these term contract positions, additional substitutes shall be contracted as normal.
Under the Collective Agreements (Provincial Clause 29.04(a), Labrador West Clause 17.04(a)), school districts must make “every effort” to replace teachers who are absent for valid reasons. This is not only applicable for in-person instruction, but also in a virtual learning scenario. This is a high standard and includes appropriate efforts by the employer to recruit substitute teachers to ensure adequate availability.
NLTA members seeking advice/assistance on specific matters related to their individual circumstances should contact the Association via firstname.lastname@example.org.