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New Mexico governor asks National Guard to volunteer in classrooms amid COVID surge

Teacher Shortage New Mexico
Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 20:54:49-05

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new initiative to staff schools as the state faces a surge in cases of COVID-19.

Lujan Grisham is encouraging state workers and National Guard members to volunteer to become licensed substitute teachers or child care workers.

“Our schools are a critical source of stability for our kids – we know they learn better in the classroom and thrive among their peers,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Our kids, our teachers and our parents deserve as much stability as we can provide during this time of uncertainty, and the state stands ready to help keep kids in the classroom, parents able to go to work and teachers able to fully focus on the critical work they do every single day in educating the next generation.”

The volunteers will have to pass a background check and complete an online substitute teaching workshop.

State workers will be allowed to take administrative leave to work in schools and child care programs with staffing shortages.

“This is state government at its best, and we are ready to step up to support our teachers, who have been on the front lines of the pandemic for nearly two years now, by increasing the state’s pool of substitute teachers," said New Mexico Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus.

The state says 60 school districts and charter schools have moved to remote learning since the winter break due to staffing shortages.