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A shortage in substitute teachers

 November 4, 2021 at 7:50 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday October 4th

San Diego needs substitute teachers. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

San Diego county public health officials say they’re seeing the number of flu cases this year out-pacing the five year average...which leads them to believe that this year's flu season could be severe. For the week ending Saturday, 28 flu cases were reported in the county. That’s compared to the previous five year average of 19 during the same week. County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten says the best way to lower your risk of getting the flu is to get your flu shot. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year.

San Diego County supervisors voted on Wednesday to spend a half million dollars for a consultant to help secure funding to finish the San Diego River Park. The park is 52-miles long running from the Cuyamaca mountains in Julian on out to the Pacific ocean. Funding is needed to buy land and create trails. County officials have not said how much the project would cost.


The Breeders’ Cup returns to San Diego this weekend.

On Wednesday, race officials gave a briefing on how they plan to protect the horses. The animals have already been through a security check… and they’re also getting what’s called “trot up exams.”

Doctor William Farmer of Churchill Downs is helping to run the tests at Del Mar.

“As we did last year, two exams are required, where we are keeping track of these horses. This is an opportunity for us to examine these horses with weight up to help replicate what we anticipate to see on race day as these horses are warming up in the post parade.”

Last summer several horses died at Del Mar. But track officials say Del Mar is listed as the safest track in the industry in the past three years. The first Breeders Cup events will run on Friday.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Substitute teachers are in high demand in order for school districts to maintain state-required coverage in classrooms.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez tells us there is now a real financial benefit for those who qualify to be teachers for a day or longer.

Samantha Mohn...Miss Sam to her a new substitute teacher, this week, here at Montgomery Middle School in Linda Vista. This is 7th grade social studies class. It’s a long way from the law firm job she used to have. The COVID-19 pandemic left her wanting more for her future. A bachelor’s degree and the state’s 30-day emergency teaching permit brought her here on the road to a full teaching credential someday.

CG: Samantha Mohn/Substitute Teacher

“This job helps me see the real issues kids are facing today and I can see what I can do to help and honestly see the holes in the education system, then when I get my degree I can be the bridge to fix those gaps.”

Miss Sam and other qualified college graduates are in high demand as substitute teachers in San Diego Unified and most other districts in the County. COVID confusion and uncertainty has emptied the teaching pool. A sub job used to pay about 1-hundred-25 dollars a day...but now look at the Substitute Teacher Daily Pay Rate in some local districts.

San Diego Unified starts at 1-hundred-72 dollars a day up to 2-hundred-85 dollars a day for a long-term resident sub. In the Escondido Union High School District Poway Unified School District the pay rate range is 1-hundred-80 to 2-hundred dollars daily...and in the San Ysidro District the pay is at a high of 2-hundred-25 dollars to 2-hundred-85 dollars a day.

CG: Acacia Thede/SDUSD Chief Human Resources Officer

“We’re all looking for substitute teachers, bus drivers, paraeducators, those folks who work directly with our students. If you have a passion for kids, any district in the County would love to have you.”

CG: M.G. Perez/KPBS News

“In August, Governor Newsom tried to support the situation with an executive order. The order allowed retiring teachers to return to work immediately...waiving a six month waiting period.

It helped but there’s still plenty of work to be done, says principal Sarah Trueblood.

CG: Sarah Trueblood/Montgomery Middle School Principal

“We’ve all worked so hard to get kids online and using that as a tool and now to go back to more paper and pencil and collaborative activities/ 4:48-4:50 “when we’re trying to make sure they’re social distancing is a difficult task.”

Samantha Mohn will finish her assignment at Montgomery Friday then look forward to her next lesson.

“It’s a really hard career but it’s super’s the little things ..I need to focus on ...those are what keep me going.”

School Districts look forward to many more substitutes willing to trudge this road of education.


US Customs and border protection at the San Ysidro port of entry are gearing up for november 8th. That's the day the U.S. is lifting border restrictions with Mexico and Canada for fully vaccinated foreigners.

KPBS’s Alexandra Rangel has more from a briefing with CBP about what travelers should expect.

“Si no tiene prueba de vacuna no van a poder cruzar.”

If you don't have proof of vaccination you won't be able to cross.

But the rules only apply to non-citizens crossing into the U.S.

Alexandra Rangel KPBS Reporter

“CBP Agents detailed their plan for fully reopening the border on November 8. They say everyone will be required to carry proof of vaccination but not everyone will be asked to show it.

Officers will ask for vaccination proof on a case by case basis.

Minors will not be required to be vaccinated, but they must cross with a parent or adult that is.

Moises Castillo is the CBP officer in charge of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

He says only vaccines approved by the FDA will be accepted.

Those without proper documentation risk being turned back.

Moises Castillo, CBP Officer

“We understand that some are digital and we will accept digital proof, it is on paper we will also accept that.”

He says a photo of a vaccine card will also be accepted.

Moises Castillo, CBP Officer

“We are expecting heavy travel for that day and the next few weeks so we are letting you know that there will be high wait times during those times.”

Castillo says staffing at the port of entry is almost back to pre-covid levels but the pedestrian crossing called ped west, will remain closed.

Moises Castillo, CBP Officer

“We found it more efficient to open ped east fully, so we will be opening ped east fully and ped west will not be opening at this time but we are still evaluating that.”

Pre-covid there were two officers at each lane helping ease the traffic flow, but Castillo says each lane will continue to have one officer only, which presents the risk of long lines of traffic.

When asked what the reasoning behind the decision was, he said….

Moises Castillo, CBP Officer

“It’s several factors but at this time we are not looking to put officers in every lane.”

CBP agents say those traveling to the U.S. for nonessential reasons should avoid crossing during peak hours to alleviate wait times.

Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News.


The shipping crisis backlog in California was the focus of a hearing at the state capitol on [Wednesday]. Cap Radio's Steve Milne [MILL-nee] reports.

Dee Dee Myers heads the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. She told the Assembly Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement that the Newsom administration's main focus now is getting cargo containers off the ports.

"Finding excess space either in the port complexes or outside where you could temporarily store or transfer containers so that you could create more velocity in the system at the ports."

But Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Gipson says the concerns of people who live near the ports - like his constituents - need to be considered too.

"I'm afraid because I represent the most impacted community which is Wilmington and it's dangerous and I've seen a number of clips, they were stacked on top of each other horizontal where all you do is have a wind blow and it's going to teeter-totter and fall off. Safety needs to be an issue." [:14]

Myers told lawmakers the state is also working on transitioning the ports to 24/7 operations and growing the supply chain workforce for now and in the future.


Coming up.... As covid-19 vaccinations begin for children ages 5 to 11, parents are still hesitant to get their kid the shot. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

After receiving the go ahead from the FDA and the CDC, coronavirus vaccinations for kids age 5 through 11 started this week. The lower dose Pfizer vaccine now has emergency use authorization for the younger age group- opening up the vaccine to some 28 million children in the U.S.

Yet, many parents remain reluctant to have their children vaccinated. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that only about 30% of parents with children in that age group were eager to have their kids vaccinated.

Dr. Bob Gillespie is a physician with Sharp Healthcare, and a founding member of The San Diego County COVID-19 Equity Task Force.

He spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindmon about vaccinating younger children, and talking to parents.

what have medical professionals learned over the course of the pandemic about how best to talk to their patients about the vaccine?

Speaker 2:

One of the things that we as scientists have a tendency to do is to rely on data. And when you're speaking to people in the community, their reality is not always found in the data that's been present. Give you an example. One of the concerns that parents have between the age of five and 11 is fertility and their children getting the vaccines at such an early age, the data has not shown any issues concerning fertility and the scientific side. We're more worried about things such as myocarditis though. It's rare and it's something that can occur. So you have to first understand your patient and the people that you're speaking to in the community to understand their concerns. So that's the first step. And the second thing is to be armed with the information that is factual and give both sides of the story.

Speaker 1:

Hmm. And do these strategies change when we're talking about younger kids like this new five through 11 age group,

Speaker 2:

Without a question, if you look at what we have done in San Diego county and people over the age of 6 65 and older, we vaccinated over 97% of that population, at least one shot 97%. And the reason for that is our argument is that in that age group, the risk of hospitalization and death is quite significant. When you look at kids five to 11, you can not make that same argue quite the opposite. We know the risk of hospitalization and death is almost non-existent. It's very small, not non-existent, but small. So the arguments have to be based on other issues. What are the differences in immunocompromised patients or those with preexisting conditions? Are they more likely to benefit? What about minority patients? Are they more likely the issues related to mental health and socialization that occurs as we distance ourselves with the fear of getting COVID and our learning change is our inability to educate our young children. How does that impact? And lastly, the issue that's a real, really real issue. What about the impact of long COVID and what it might until when, or it might cause issues with our young children? And of course, the issue of how we transmit within our families, if our young children are not vaccinated

Speaker 1:

Hmm. And vaccine hesitancy for kids seem to be on the mind of many committee members at yesterday's CDC advisory committee meeting, which voted 14, zero in support of recommending the vaccine to kids age five through 11. Here's what Dr. Helen Talbot had to say in that meeting,

Speaker 3:

We have reviewed this data and I have that made in my kids cause I feel like it's safe. Um, and I would not recommend something if I did not feel that way. And so I think it's really important, um, to just reiterate what many of us have said we are parents and we have given this to our children.

Speaker 1:

Is this more personal approach effective at connecting with patients in your view?

Speaker 2:

The personal approach is effective. As long as you also provide some reasonable reasons for making that decision. In the case of a physician who comes from typically middle-class upper middle-class would be probably a better characterization. The argument would be more along the lines of preventing the social concerns and mental health concerns that are come with not being vaccinated. The issue of seven to 8% of potentially getting long COVID, which is a condition where you have symptoms that last greater than 12 weeks out from an infection with COVID. So these become very important issues, not the issue of death and hospitalization. However, in minority populations, on the other hand, the vast majority of those people who did end up with illnesses, where it was a high percentage in minority boobs. So a different view may be in that population compared to a majority population. So you really have to target your message to an individual group as you consider these variables.

Speaker 1:

And what do you think the medical community gets right and wrong when it comes to listening to patient's concerns?

Speaker 2:

You know, I was fascinated as I looked at that Kaiser study. And one of the first things, if you look at parents' concerns, as I mentioned earlier, is one of fertility, you know, this is something that we have not even seen a, seen a signal that reduction in fertility occurs with the use of these vaccines. So I think one of the things that we have to focus on what the parents' concerns are. And I think if we do that, we have a better chance of making a difference in getting this scoop patients vaccinated

Speaker 1:

In your sharp healthcare biography. You wrote building trust, which does not necessarily take an extended period of time, is the key to helping a patient make the correct informed decision. How do you approach building that trust with patients?

Speaker 2:

And that same study you've mentioned. That was one of the concerns that parents have particularly minority. And that was being able to go to a location that they trusted, that they have trust. And that's particularly in the minority population that that becomes an issue, what you do for trust because of historical issues. Often in people of color, it is important to have someone that looks that's providing that message when it comes to anyone in the general population, trust is built in from a caregiver that, that individual trust. So that is, if you go into a doctor's office who you've seen for a number of years, that's certainly going to provide a level of trust that will allow you to discuss the vaccine. I speak with every single one of my patients about getting a vaccine, even though I'm a cardiologist, it's extremely important that we speak with all of our patients because they trust me for other reasons. And with that, many of my unvaccinated patients will go up and get vaccinated of all different racial backgrounds.

Speaker 1:

And what would you say to a parent who came to you that expressed concern about the vaccine?

Speaker 2:

I would say the following to parents that have children between the age of five and 11, that the clinical trials, though, not as extensive as the main trials, this was a few thousand patients, just under 3000 that we looked at or in this group of five to 11, but it just added 2,500. I should say what we saw in this group was that antibody levels went up quite significantly. There was no increase in side effects beyond what typically occurred in the general population, the fatigue, headache, local irritation, and there was no signal of a bad outcome. The dose is about a third of what was given to adults and all of the information, which suggests that this is very safe, but I would also add that we still need more data, that it will be something we'll continue to monitor. We have a number of ways of monitoring these vaccines and that data, if there's is a signal that shows any concern whatsoever will trigger a stop in using that vaccine immediately. So I would encourage parents that it is very safe, but nonetheless, we will continue to monitor this very closely.

That was Dr. Bob Gillespie, a physician with Sharp Healthcare, and a founding member of The San Diego County COVID-19 Equity Task Force, speaking with KPBS midday edition host jade hindmon.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing uncertain job market has left many San Diego County school districts scrambling for teachers. That means good money for those willing and qualified to work as a substitute. Meanwhile, ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border are gearing up for lifting travel restrictions on November 8th. And, as vaccines for children 5 to 11 get emergency authorization, how many parents will actually choose to get their kids vaccinated?