Stitt authorizes state employees to substitute teach in schools

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — On Tuesday Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) announced he is authorizing state agencies to allow their employees to substitute teach in Oklahoma schools, without losing employment, pay or benefits. .

The executive order comes at a time when schools across the state are struggling to stay open amid a teacher shortage. That shortage is attributed to the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the decline in the number of teachers in general.

Stitt hopes this initiative will help keep schools open and in-person.

“I’ve said from the beginning that our students deserve an in-person education and our schools need to stay open,” said Stitt. “The state has a responsibility to do what we can to help make that happen, which is why I have signed this executive order to help schools suffering from staffing shortages.”

Stitt said he expects Executive Order 2022-01 to be signed Tuesday and teachers could be in classrooms as soon as Wednesday. The order will be in effect for 120 days.

“The new Guest Educator initiative will provide schools across the state with new options to help keep their doors open during this challenging time,” said Chad Warmington, president and CEO of the State Chamber. “We hope businesses are able to partner with their local districts and encourage available employees who are healthy and willing, to volunteer as substitute teachers.”

Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters said employees that substitute teach will have to pass background checks and will be provided with onboarding resources.

Employees will not be full replacements for teachers, but will be expected to help monitor classes and continue lesson plans.

Stitt said pay for these employees would be typical of a normal substitute teacher.

Several Green Country schools have been in distance learning protocols on and off over the last few weeks.

You can find a list of schools in distance learning here.