EPHRATA, Pa (WHTM) — The students inside Highland Elementary School in the Ephrata Area School District are in the classroom and learning this week.

The students are able to learn in the classrooms thanks in part to teachers like Kris Miller.

Miller usually teaches math at the Ehprata Area High School, but this week students in the high school are learning online and Miller is helping to fill a substitute teacher shortage.

“It’s challenging at any level when you don’t have a person in the building,” Miller said.

Substitute teacher shortages were an issue for many district before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the pandemic is creating more problems for districts when teachers are out.

Dr. Brian Troop, superintendent for the Ephrata Area School District, said they can’t combine classes. He said they’re having to find different ways to get teachers in front of students.

Dr. Troop said bringing high school teachers into the elementary schools helps the younger children who learn better in person. He also said it allows schools to stay open.

“We’re all part of the team,” Troop said. “We have different job descriptions and duties, but we’re all part of the same team to try and get the same kind of learning atmosphere and culture within our district for all of us to benefit from.”