by Christopher Weber | The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES – California is making it easier for school districts to hire teachers and other staff amid staffing shortages caused by the latest surge in coronavirus cases, the governor said Tuesday.
Governor Gavin Newsom said he has signed an executive order to allow schools more flexibility in staffing decisions such as giving substitute teachers extra hours and rehiring recently retired people for shorter tenures . The order expires at the end of March.
“These are short-term challenges that require short-term and targeted solutions,” said Newsom, a Democrat.
The fast-spreading Omicron version of COVID-19 is sidelining school personnel across the state a week after 60 lakh K-12 students returned to classes after the winter break.
Newsom said he hopes to expedite a recruitment process that typically takes time and allows school districts to “place our children safely in person for the rest of the year and for the next three to six or so weeks.” Allows to get through.”
The California Teachers Association, which represents about 300,000 teachers across the state, said it recognizes the need for hiring flexibility and calls on school districts to “focus on substitute teachers, recently retired and student teachers.” solicits.”
“The executive order is by no means a response to prolonged staffing shortages, and we look forward to working with the governor, lawmakers and the education community in rebuilding our teacher pipeline, which has been devastated by this pandemic, Association spokeswoman Lisa Gardiner said in a statement Tuesday.
Newsom also said that the state is working on getting more COVID-19 tests done in schools. Last week Newsom and state officials faced criticism for failing to deliver on a promise to provide rapid, at-home testing to all California students and school staff before classes reopen after the break. .
Lakhs of test kits were sent to families, but millions were not, and there are long lines at testing sites.
Newsom announced the executive order Tuesday during a stop at a Kern County medical clinic, where he highlighted his proposal to expand healthcare to all Californians, regardless of immigration status.