New Mexico gov becomes teacher amid school staffing shortage

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks about the uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state and her decision to hold off on opening more of the economy during a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday, June 25, 2020. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via AP)

(The Hill) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has registered to become licensed as a substitute teacher as part of a push to address COVID-19-related staffing shortages at schools and child care centers. 

The governor does not have prior experience in education but expects to be placed as a substitute in an elementary school next week.

“This work will not require the Lt. Gov. to act as governor,” Grisham’s press secretary Nora Sackett confirmed.

The governor is one of 100 people, including 50 National Guard members and 50 state employees, to sign up for the “Supporting Teachers and Families” initiative announced last week.

Grisham announced the initiative to encourage state workers and members of the National Guard to assist at schools struck by COVID-19 outbreaks preventing teachers from coming in to work. 

At the time, she said the decision was the result of “extreme staffing shortages due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.”

On Friday, New Mexico’s health department reported 6,198 new COVID-19 cases and a seven-day positivity rate of 29 percent as the state has seen a surge in infections fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant.

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