DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been a headache for months as school systems struggle to find substitute teachers. The problem is only getting worse as cold and flu season are hitting some school districts especially hard.

It’s not just Tennessee feeling the brunt of a substitute teacher shortage, but if that wasn’t enough of a problem, Dickson County Schools said they are now getting hit hard by illness.

“Obviously, when you get into the cold and flu season as we are now and see some of the things that are going to be, the issues are going to be exasperated and larger than what it typically would be,” said Steve Sorrells, Director of Student Services at Dickson County Schools.

Sorrells said the flu and other illnesses hitting earlier than usual is leading to a bigger demand for substitute teachers.

“It’s going to be a larger problem than you would typically see. Substitute teacher shortages are something that every district I’m sure is working with and working on, and obviously, if you have an increase in sickness and illnesses, that’s going to be a bigger issue,” Sorrells said.

However, Sorrells said their issue right now isn’t with students or staff out sick. Instead, it’s staff members out with sick children, and not enough substitutes to cover.

“It’s not the illness of the staff as much as it is the illness of their family. So I’m aware of several staff members who are out because their children are at home sick. We are fortunate here in Dickson County that our school system has a family clinic and that kind of helps us just be preventive and to work with those matters. So hopefully that’ll also help get teachers back in the classrooms quicker,” Sorrells said.

If you’re interested in being a substitute teacher in Dickson County, reach out to the Dickson County Board of Education and they can tell you what to do from there.