WESTBROOK, Maine — Students in Westbrook were supposed to be heading back to school under a hybrid plan Tuesday, but the start date is pushed back due to a lack of staff.
"It was disappointing we had to do that. The facilities were ready. We were geared up. We were anxious. We were ready to see our students; ready to move forward. We certainly couldn't do that if we don't have enough staff to provide for supervision, to provide for the instruction we need to provide," said Westbrook Public School Superintendent Peter Lancia.
Superintendent Peter Lancia said the district needs one full-time teacher and four substitute teachers.
"We have teachers who can't work in person right now and some support staff who can't work in person. So we've had some need for substitutes. We've had a hard time hiring substitutes and additional employees because of the pandemic," said Lancia.
Staffing wasn't the only issue. Lancia said there was also an unexpected increase in kindergarten students and the district had a transportation software problem.
"All three reasons really led us to having to delay the start for another week," said Lancia.
School Committee Chairperson Noreen Poitras said it's hard enough finding substitutes during a normal school year, let alone during a pandemic.
"Some of our subs are of an older generation. We did have a few just drop out last week saying the doctor said they couldn't come in. I think that's a big part of it," said Poitras.
Lancia said they've been ramping up training for substitutes so they know what to expect and feel comfortable to teach.
He hopes the open positions will be filled by the new start date which is September 14th.
If you are interested, you can apply on the Westbrook Public School Department's website: