In Indiana, the 4,400-student Greenfield-Central school district about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Indianapolis made a plea for help as its substitute pool shrank. “I said, ’If you’ve got a student who’s in college, maybe they’d like to work even a two-month thing for us – which would be a stopgap, no doubt – but it will help us a whole, whole bunch,” said Scott Kern, the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation director of human resources.

Over a dozen college students answered the call including his own daughter, 19-year-old Grace Kern, who is studying medical imaging technology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. She has been working in elementary school classrooms, helping students as teachers offer instruction remotely via a screen inside the room.

“My dad told me that a bunch of teachers are out and they’re struggling to get substitutes in. And I was like, ‘Well, all my classes are online, except for one, so I have the time to do it.’ And I would hate for the schools and the students to struggle,” she said.