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Sisolak directive eases hiring of emergency substitute teachers

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Nov. 30 signed an emergency regulation making it easier for Nevada’s school districts and charter schools to hire critically needed substitute teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The emergency regulation will ease existing restrictions so the pool of licensed substitute teachers available for hire can be rapidly expanded, and qualified substitutes can serve for a longer period of time.

Existing state law provides an avenue to hire emergency substitute teachers, but it is limited to rural school districts, school districts with fewer than 9,000 students and rural portions of school districts with more than 9,000 students. It also limits the amount of time a person may serve as an emergency substitute to no more than five days in any 20-day period.

In response to COVID-19, public schools across the state have implemented different instructional models to meet the needs and circumstances of their community, including in-person learning with social distancing and sanitation protocols, full-time distance learning and hybrid learning that combines distance and in-person learning models. Offering these models simultaneously while also backfilling staff who have been excluded based on guidance from local public health officials has put a strain on the capacity of licensed educators and substitutes.

“Thanks to the governor’s swift action, districts will be better able meet the needs of students and families by supporting multiple instructional models,” said Jhone Ebert, state superintendent of public instruction. “We remain committed to ensuring that all of Nevada’s districts and charter schools have the tools and flexibility they need to provide equitable access to educational opportunities for all students during this pandemic.”

“We cannot thank Governor Sisolak and State Superintendent Ebert enough for their recognition and timely action in responding to the mounting challenges we face amid this most recent surge in COVID-19 cases,” Washoe County School District Superintendent Kristen McNeill said. “Staffing has been among our biggest challenges, and this will help fill our substitute teacher gap and ensure we are able to continue to meet the needs of our students.”

The emergency regulation went into effect immediately, allowing all school districts to begin recruiting and placing emergency substitute teachers as quickly as possible.

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