Gov. Cox allows time off for state employees to substitute in Utah schools

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Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during a news conference on Aug. 31, 2021, in Salt Lake City. On Jan. 31, 2022, Cox issued an executive order allowing state employees to take approved time off and help fill staffing gaps in Utah public and private schools. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order on Jan. 31 allowing state employees to take approved time off and help fill staffing gaps in Utah public and private schools.

Executive Order 2022-02 grants state employees up to 30 hours of paid administrative leave to work as a substitute teacher or fill other staffing needs in a public or private school between now and the end of June.

This comes after the omicron variant created unprecedented absenteeism among teachers and education staff, with labor shortages exacerbating the problem, according to the governor’s press release. “Giving state employees the option to substitute teach, help in the cafeteria or perform (other) needed duties will ensure schools can continue to provide in-person learning experiences,” it says.

State employees who choose to participate need to go through a district or school hiring process which includes passing a background check. According to the release, employees will qualify for state pay and compensation from the school district for their time.

“We know that kids learn best in the classroom, so we want to do what we can to help schools stay open. Our teachers and our children deserve our support during this difficult phase of the pandemic,” Cox said in the release. “We hope many of the state’s 22,000 employees will take advantage of this opportunity to help our schools.”

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