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Substitute teacher shortage leads to virtual class cancellations in Conroe ISD

On Friday, the district was shorted nearly 250 subs, and the superintendent told parents the problem also extends to bus drivers.

CONROE, Texas — Conroe ISD remains without a mask mandate and teachers are continuing to get sick with COVID-19. Finding substitute teachers is becoming increasingly difficult and that is leading to online class cancellations.

Tricia Danto's daughters are already being impacted. 

"It's definitely been very chaotic and stressful for us," said Danto. "They're building the plane as they're flying it, and they will tell you that."

Six Zoom classes in and they're already running into turbulence. 

"They're all excited to learn, ready to get on Zoom, and then I have to tell them they don't have class," said Danto. "Their next question is why not?"

The reason for the Zoom class cancellation explained in an email Danto received from a Conroe ISD teacher. The teacher wrote: "Our school is experiencing a high number of teachers absent with no coverage."

"She was having to substitute teach an in person class and my understanding is that's their last resort when they cannot find a substitute," said Danto. 

Today alone, Conroe ISD is nearly 250 substitutes short. 

"Many of the subs are retired teachers and they don't want to go into a building because of COVID," said Danto. 

And it's not just too few substitute teachers. 

"I think there could come a time when we send an email and say school's open but today, but buses can't run today," said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Null.

Dr. Null offered parents an update on the COVID-19 situation in the district on YouTube last night. He warned parents the bus driver shortage may be even more dire than the teacher shortage. 

"I don't see it getting better anytime soon," said Danto. 

KHOU 11 News reached out to Superintendent Null's office for an interview to discuss these issues, but again were told he was not available for an interview. 

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