With the upcoming Stable Group Model, a system in which some students learn on campus in “stable groups” while others continue to learn online, keeping watch over incoming students is a necessity. The administration is planning to hire volunteers for an extra hand.
Otherwise known as classified substitute employees, the point of these volunteers is to simplify the difficult transition to in-person learning, according to Leyla Benson, Associative Superintendent of Personnel.
Because it’s in a phased transition, translating teachers in-person will take a long time. That’s what initially brought about the initial idea [of utilizing volunteers
“We’re trying to bring back supervised students with the [Stable Group Model]in larger groups at a time,” Benson said. “Because it’s in a phased transition, translating teachers in-person will take a long time. That’s what initially brought about the initial idea [of utilizing volunteers].”
The classified substitutes are not meant to act as a tutor or educator. Instead, they supervise and maintain public safety, according to Benson.
By extension, this means that one wouldn’t be required certification to volunteer. However, applying to be a classified substitute remains a “thorough process,” according to Benson.
“The individual must state their previous workplace, undergo a [COVID-19] training course, be cleared of tuberculosis, and get a fingerprint scan,” Benson said. “But more importantly, they must agree to the terms of what [the district]is offering, and be willing to work within the current circumstances.”
As the school district moves forward with the gradual reopening, other inherent difficulties with volunteering remain.
“[The substitutes] must work to ensure everyone is safe and knows the guidelines, especially since it’s ever-changing. Constantly being updated on these protocols will be difficult, to say the least,” Benson said. “Although, making and executing more steps towards a full reopening is the real difficulty.”
Vaccine prioritization is not guaranteed to be included in volunteering.
“Our educators are in a higher tier [of vaccine distribution],” Benson said, “but we don’t know if these employees will be eligible for a prioritized vaccine along with [educators].”
The classified substitute employees will go on to play a role in reopening schools as the MVLA school district progresses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Rest assured, the process of reopening is going to evolve as time goes on,” Benson said. “With the help of these volunteers, we hope that students enjoy their high school experience while being as safe as possible.”