Utah state workers get days off to sub amid teacher shortage

January 31, 2022 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Monday signed an executive order allowing state workers additional time off to help combat the labor shortage facing schools throughout the state.

The order allows state workers — including budget analysts, social workers and highway patrol officers — to take up to 30 hours, which is about four school days, of administrative leave to work as substitute teachers, bus drivers, school secretaries or cafeteria workers in public, private or charter schools.

“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 a statement.

Cox’s move follows similar actions by officials throughout the country who are scrambling to fill classrooms as teacher resignations and the rise of the omicron variant create unprecedented school staffing problems, leaving some schools too short-staffed to stay open. In Nevada, officials are considering allowing anyone with high school diplomas to teach. New Mexico earlier this month became the first state to ask National Guard troops to step in as substitutes.


In Utah, school districts have previously asked support staff, librarians and custodians to step into empty classrooms and raised wages for substitute teachers. Elementary school principals have asked parents to apply to substitute teach. And the Salt Lake Chamber has partnered with schools to find workers at local businesses who can step in to substitute.

State workers must apply through school districts and undergo background checks to be hired.