California schools have returned to in-person learning, but acute
staff shortages are hobbling the return. The hardest positions to
fill are often special education instructional aides.
For “SpEd IAs,” as they are known from early childhood programs
to post-secondary classrooms, there is no “social distance” with
their students. Assignments may require feeding children,
changing diapers, and handling medical equipment. Emotional
outbursts can also be physically punishing to paraeducators.