Despite early concerns, the pressure of teaching during a pandemic has not significantly increased teacher retirements locally or statewide.
Decatur City Schools' Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Yvette Evans said 42 employees retired between May and September, compared to 41 employees who retired during the same time period in 2019.
In September, the district averaged 83 substitute teachers per day, compared to 76 last September. Evans said the district has not had any challenges with hiring personnel, "except for those areas that are usually challenging to fill in normal situations such as math, science and special education."
Morgan County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Screws said 39 employees retired between April and September, compared to 31 who retired during that period last year.
While there has been an increase in recent retirements statewide, retirements for the year are comparable to previous years.
In September, 274 county and city school employees retired, up from 135 in September of 2019 and 145 in September 2018, according to the Retirement Systems of Alabama.
August saw similar increases — 232 this year compared to 152 in August 2019 and 181 in August 2018.
Some school leaders earlier this year said high on their lists of concerns about this school year is how to find enough teachers and staff to cover the expected COVID-19-related leaves and retirements.
But despite the recent upticks, there’s been no significant increase in retirements at Alabama schools, according to RSA, because numbers were down earlier in the spring and summer.
Between May and September, 2,264 school employees retired, compared to 2,302 and 2,234 in the same time periods in 2019 and 2018.
For the entire Teachers’ Retirement System, which includes community colleges, universities and other education-related agencies in the state, there were 3,013 retirements between May and September this year, compared to 2,985 in 2019 and 2,951 in 2018, according to RSA.
Morgan County Schools Director of Human Resources Cliff Booth said policies brought on by the pandemic, like students learning remotely each Wednesday and teachers being permitted to work from home if necessary, have kept the need for additional substitute teachers at bay.
"Our need for substitute teachers so far this school year has not exceeded our normal rates. In fact, many of our teachers have been scheduling professional development on Wednesdays, when they don't need to physically be in a classroom. So, we have not needed to schedule substitute teachers for those days," Booth said. "And, most of our teachers can work from home in case of minor illnesses or quarantine, so we have not needed to schedule a substitute teacher for those instances."