What's The Risk For A Substitute Teacher?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 10:00 AM, Aug 21, 2020

As the school year starts, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19.  

We asked the experts, what's the risk for a substitute teacher?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 as a substitute teacher is medium risk.

"It is important to make sure that the children who are in the classroom are also wearing masks and keeping distance from the substitute teacher because they are at risk of transmitting to teachers as well, particularly if the teacher might be older or if they may have other medical conditions," Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine, told Newsy.

"The risk isn't increased because you're a substitute teacher. I think every day is different for even the regular teacher because the kids kind of come and go and exposure is outside the school and then every day is a little bit different," Cleveland Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Frank Esper said. 

"Having one substitute teacher with whom the children, the families are very comfortable is certainly fine. It's lower risk. But if you're in a situation where you have many different substitutes coming into a classroom and you're not really sure about their affiliations and associations before they come into the school classroom, I think that that could be a concern, and it's much more of a moderate risk for children. And so I think because we do have a national teacher shortage and I think going back into the fall, there will be some concern about how many teachers show up, this is a real question in terms of having availability of subs and availability of consistent subs to be in the same classrooms over and over again," Annette Anderson, deputy director for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, told Newsy.

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit