Teaching in a pandemic requires more teachers. With many contracted teachers becoming ill or quarantining, substitute teachers are assuming significant risk as they parachute into classrooms in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Substitute teachers working in Alberta are required to sign off on a COVID-19 hazard assessment and perform daily screening before entering a school. If they exhibit symptoms, they need to declare themselves unavailable until they are cleared to return to work. Without contracts, these teachers do not have sick leave or benefits. Therefore, if they become ill or display symptoms of COVID-19, they often cannot work for ten days.
Substitute teachers are indispensable to their learning communities, but just like contracted teachers, they are vulnerable to being intensely affected and possibly damaged by their work.
More than ever, the mental health of all teachers is profoundly impacted by the work they do. The COVID-19 crisis has intensified this impact on some of our colleagues more than others, most notably substitute teachers. Recognizing early warning signs and seeking early intervention is essential. Regrettably, many substitute teachers are without group insurance benefits; therefore, access to support might seem out of reach.
If you are a substitute teacher, there is mental health support for you.
The Mental Health Help Line is available Alberta wide.
If you are a substitute teacher, you may be eligible for new federal support programs, including the following:
Click on each link to apply for the benefit or learn more about the program.
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