– South Portland school system looking for replacements

SOUTH PORTLAND – The South Portland school department needs a few extra hands. Schools in South Portland have been understaffed due to higher than normal numbers of teachers and sick staff.

The department asked parents and community members to help find substitute teachers and volunteers. Many schools across the state have faced higher than normal numbers of sick teachers this winter. Due to absences, ed-techs were left behind to replace teachers, leaving no one to fill ed-tech duties.

Elizabeth Wasilewski, a nurse with Northern Light Health, administers a Pfizer vaccine to a student at Memorial Middle School during a clinic held in November. Gregory Rec photo/Press Herald

“Every district in the state is probably looking for substitute teachers right now,” South Portland Superintendent Timothy Matheney said. “There is a shortage of substitutes and we are all eager to bring in as many as possible.”

The school department is also looking for members of the community who have a medical background to help with the pool testing program, which is available for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Volunteers can help with supervision during pool testing, as well as swabbing and other administrative tasks.

Schools in South Portland have seen a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and said group testing has been very effective in trying to reduce the surge of the Omicron variant in their eight schools.

“We are looking for volunteers, adult members of the community to support us in three different areas,” Matheney said. “The first is that we are looking for people with some experience in the health professions to support our pool testing program. The second role is to serve as substitutes for lunch and recess, thus supporting the supervision of our students. The third role is to support our classrooms which have a significant number of English language learners.

The school district will hold an immunization clinic at South Portland High School, located at 637 Highland Ave. The walk-in clinic is in partnership with Northern Light Health Care and will be held February 10 from 2:30-6:30 p.m. Registration is not compulsory.

South Portland Superintendent Timothy Matheney has asked those interested in volunteering in schools to contact his office directly at https://www.spsd.org/district/leadership.

For those looking to help as substitutes, applications can be found on the South Portland Schools Department website, https://www.spsd.org/district/job-opportunities.

Jeremy S. McLain