Governor Kevin Stitt is allowing employees at state agencies to substitute teach to help with a teacher shortage caused by a surge in COVID cases.
The executive order will allow up to 32,000 state employees to sub in classrooms. The executive order comes as a growing number of school districts transition to distance learning because so many staff members are out sick right now.
Governor Kevin Stitt says his goal is to have every school in the state open, in-person.
"We've got to keep our kids in person, keep the school doors open because there's a whole nother set of consequences when kids are at home,” said Stitt. “These parents are still having to go to work and these kids are left by themselves at home and I'd much rather have them in the classroom and I think most parents agree with me.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Governor was joined by Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, the state chamber, and Chief Operating Officer Steven Harpe.
All of them say the wave in cases caused by the Omicron variant has been tough on schools. Harpe says they are not seeing staffing shortages though at state agencies, meaning for those employees who want to sub, they will be given an opportunity to do so.
Employees will need to pass a background check and individual districts are preparing to work with state employees to expedite the process to meet their own qualifications.
Secretary of Education Ryan Walters says he's been in contact with superintendents throughout the state.
"These aren't people that are coming in to be a full replacement for a teacher,” said Walters. “These are people that are coming in volunteering to help monitor classes, help continue with a lesson plan that a teacher's provided for them. So again, they'll be able to step in with assistance from the schools and be able to continue that learning process."
The executive order will be effective for 120 days.