By Carol Britton Meyer
Teachers and nurses willing to work as substitutes in the Hingham Public Schools are in high demand.
While there was a bigger-than-usual need for more substitute teachers at the peak of the pandemic, that challenge continues, Interim Supt. of Schools Gary Maestas said recently.
Economic and other issues play into these shortages in the public schools, experienced in many communities as well as Hingham. Some individuals aren't comfortable in an environment where there is such a large number of people, he noted as an example.
In addition, "Some people are still on unemployment, with other benefits in place, and are weighing that against returning to work," Maestas said.
His concern since he was appointed as interim superintendent has been how to minimize absenteeism among students and staff while keeping all members of the school community healthy. "If our numbers were to spike, finding substitutes would be [a real challenge]," he said.
Finding qualified school nurses such as the ones who are already employed with the HPS isn't an easy task either, according to Maestas, due to the unique nature of that job, and the pandemic has highlighted this need.
Working with lots of kids in a school -- especially with the COVID-19 overlay -- is a different setting from being a nurse in the traditional working realm, he said.
Individuals who would like to substitute teach in the Hingham school district or to fill in when there's a need for a school nurse are encouraged to stop by the School Department office in the Town Hall building on Central Street and submit an application.