Newsom signs executive order to support safe, in-person learning at Calif. schools

California

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Tuesday giving schools more short-term staffing flexibility to support in-person learning.

“Schools nationwide returning from winter break are experiencing short-term staffing shortages that are putting a strain on operations,” Newsom said.

The executive order will make it easier for schools to hire and extend assignments to substitute teachers, while also eliminating hurdles retired teachers may face while returning to California classrooms while providing additional flexibility, according to the state.

The order comes due to the COVID-19 surge following the holidays driven by the omicron variant.

“We’re working closely with local education officials to cut red tape to allow qualified substitute teachers to help maintain safe learning environments. We are grateful for the thousands of dedicated teachers, classified staff and administrators who have worked tirelessly to provide safe learning environment for all of California’s students,” Newsom said.

Only schools that can prove these flexibilities will support in-person learning for students will qualify, according to the state. The order expands on two previous orders, N-12-21 and N-25-20, which lowered barriers for retired teachers and classified staff to return to the classroom.

The executive order expires March 31.

“These are short-term challenges that require short-term targeted solutions,” Governor Newsom said.

Newsom’s budget proposal included $2.9 billion to address staffing shortages within the California public education system, according to the state. The funds will be used to recruit more teachers, classified staff, provide additional compensation, and provide programs such as residencies and grow-your-own, as well as professional development and training.

The state said they will continue to offer its stockpile of adult N-95s to county offices of education to distribute to schools for all staff.

You can read the full executive order here.

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