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Substitute teacher says making ends meet will be harder due to school closures

Substitute teacher worried about finances after school closure announcement
Posted at 11:50 PM, Mar 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 07:21:25-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Two weeks of no school may be a treat for the students, but for the faculty and staff it may be a struggle. Maggie Douglas, a substitute teacher in the Hampton School Division, said her and her husband's finances will be hit.

She said she will be out of work the next two weeks since Gov. Ralph Northam announced the closure all K-through-12 public schools in Virginia. The announcement was made on Friday in response to the coronavirus spread across the the nation and in the commonwealth.

A pile of bills stood Douglas' kitchen table and she sorted through each one.

"That one is $800," Douglas said, as she looked at an oil bill. ""Pet service. bill, that's $100."

She said her job as a substitute teacher is her livelihood and helps pay the bills. Her and her husband's budget is also supplemented with his income, but she said relying solely on his government-contractor pay is not enough.

They have a grasp on their finances, for now. It has her wondering what she will do to make money?

"I haven't gotten that far yet. I could dog sit for the neighbors but I'm not sure they need it right now," Douglas said. "I haven't thought about Uber, but if I can get my minivan cleaned up enough maybe I can do that."

She is not directly employed by the school division. She is employed with Education Solution Services, a company that provides educational resources to schools such as substitute teachers.

Douglas said she is not sure what the district or ESS will do to help her. The governor's announcement came as a surprise to her and many school faculty.

"I was very surprised when it came down, first of all on a Friday at 2:30," Douglas said, "when we're getting ready to dismiss children."

Regardless of the last-minute announcement, Douglas said she thinks Northam made the right decision.

"Even though there aren't any cases, there are a lot of kids sick with the flu. We've had an awful lot of teachers sick with the flu," Douglas said. "It's entirely possible somebody could get this. I don't know, lord hopes I don't, I hope you all don't."

She said she knows there are others in her position and offers this advice to them: "I just think we all need to really start reevaluating our lives and start saving as much as we can. It's easier said than done, I'm living proof of that, things happen."

News 3 reached out to Hampton Public Schools to see what it will do to help Douglas and others in the same position. The Division refereed us to ESS.

News 3 also reached out to ESS and have not received a reply at this time. We will update this story if we hear back.