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Yarmouth puts out call for school substitutes, volunteers to try to keep buildings open

The Yarmouth School Department is calling on local residents to serve as volunteers and substitutes as it looks to avoid moving to remote learning amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Superintendent Andrew Dolloff says the surge has led to a big increase in staff absences, including about a dozen teachers out at the middle school on Monday. He says that has stretched schools to capacity, with administrators and other staff members being forced to fill in.

"And so we thought it would be a good idea to reach out to the community, and ask if there were folks available to volunteer or substitute for us to make sure we can keep going if we lose a bunch of staff in the coming weeks," he says.

Dolloff says volunteers would mostly just fill in with roles such as lunch or recess duty, while substitutes would likely handle work in classrooms. He says that would offer teachers a desperately needed break, as many are working late into the night to prepare lesson plans.

"Then we have teachers who are -- we're able to meet their contract. Providing them with that 20 minute lunch break, which is so valuable for them. As well as the opportunity to grade papers and make lesson plans for the next day," he says.

Dolloff says the district has already begun to hear from potential applicants, but background checks and fingerprinting are required, which could take a few weeks to process.

Background checks and fingerprinting are required, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Schools in York and Brunswick have already announced plans to move to remote learning this week because of the COVID-19 surge.

As of last Thursday, Yarmouth reported 84 active cases across its schools.