KITCHENER -- As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise in schools across southwestern Ontario, at least three local boards are making backup plans.

They're posting jobs for ""emergency unqualified teachers," with qualifications that vary depending on the school board.

In Huron-Perth, the candidate needs to have a post-secondary education and experience with children in kindergarten to Grade 12.

For Avon Maitland, a minimum of secondary school is required but preference will go to those with post-secondary education achieved or in progress, along with experience working with children.

Waterloo Region is also searching, but focused on students currently enrolled in teachers college.

All three boards will require anyone selected as an emergency unqualified teacher to get a criminal background check as a part of the standard hiring practice.

“That teacher, that individual would have the same responsibility of all of our other teachers. They would enter into the classroom and educate that given grade the same way that anyone else would,” said Alana Russell, Chief Communications officer with the Waterloo Region District School Board.

According to Russell, the WRDSB has been getting ready for the unusual year, hiring on roughly 100 supply teachers in August, with an additional 90 interviews this month and 50 more set for November.

“At this point we're in a really strong position. We have anticipated and been very proactive in establishing our staffing levels for the school year. We’re not anticipating having to go into that pool just yet, but that is something that is continuing to be on our radar,” said Russell.

The posting for the emergency unqualified teachers for Avon Maitland closed on Monday, and they anticipate the formal interviews will begin shortly.

Both the Waterloo Region and Avon Maitland boards’ stress that hiring emergency unqualified teachers would be a very last resort, only if no qualified teachers could be found.