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Governor Order To Ease COVID School Staffing Shortages

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Sacramento, CA – With the Omicron variant driving up COVID infections across the state Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order giving school districts more latitude to keep students in person for the remainder of the year.

Newsom signed the order on Tuesday which allows schools more flexibility in staffing decisions like giving additional hours to substitute teachers and rehiring recent retirees for short stints. Omicron is sidelining school personnel statewide a week after some 6 million K-12 students returned to classrooms following the winter break. The order expires at the end of March.

“These are short-term challenges that require short-term and targeted solutions,” said Newsom. He added this will expedite a hiring process that’s typically time-consuming and allow school districts “to keep our kids safely in person for the remainder of the year and get through this next three to six or so weeks.”

Newsom also said the state was working on getting more COVID-19 tests to schools after his administration was criticized last week for not having enough tests available. Tuolumne County Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko tells Clarke Broadcasting that the county received around 6,000 COVID test kits, which he says is plenty, and added that more have already been ordered to make sure the schools are covered. Serienko also detailed that more than just students can use these tests, “If a family member of a student needed to get tested and there was a test available at a school that it would be okay for the school to test the family member. That is another option for testing.”

The California Teachers Association has not yet remarked on the order.