Substitute teacher questions district’s plans to keep part-time staff safe

SPOKANE, Wash. —Roosevelt Elementary isn’t just a school to Jennifer Quantock…

“I love it. It’s home,” Quantock said.

The kids who go there are like family to Quantock, who has been a substitute teacher there for years. But, she won’t be returning to the classroom this fall.

While Spokane Public Schools (SPS) has yet to release a finalized plan about what the school year will look like, Quantock believes subs and their safety has been largely left out of the conversation.

“I think that there’s just so many piece that a sub is going to be integral to and there’s no conversation about that,” Quantock.

A spokesperson for SPS said the district has been calling substitutes to ask them for feedback regarding the upcoming school year. Quantock said she has not received a call.

The district also told 4 News Now, substitute teachers will receive “thorough training and professional development, similar to our regular staff, on new protocols required with a safe school reopening.”

Still, Quantock is nervous about her health and that of her coworkers.

“The two main demographics of subs are retired teachers and new teachers who haven’t yet gotten the job,” Quantock said. “Retired teachers are in the high risk category and probably several of them are going to say no.”

SPS said in a statement it is ‘fairly confident’ there will be a sufficient number of substitute teachers to meet the District’s needs. School leaders are currently processing 60 new applications for positions.

Quantock has her own personal reasons for being extra cautious. One of her daughters, Abby, is living with muscular dystrophy. She’s relied on a ventilator to help her breathe her entire life. Abby is extremely vulnerable to dangerous complications from the virus.

“We’re just trying to make sure that we’re keeping her safe. That’s really been our primary concern,” Quantock said.

Quantock’s other concerns go out to her coworkers and their students.

“I worry that we’re not going to be given the information to keep kids safe and keep ourselves safe,” Quantock said.

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