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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will serve as a substitute teacher on Wednesday amid Omicron-related staff shortages

Business Insider logo Business Insider 1/26/2022 bmetzger@insider.com (Bryan Metzger)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivers her State of the State address on January 18, 2022 in Santa Fe, NM. Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP © Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivers her State of the State address on January 18, 2022 in Santa Fe, NM. Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will reportedly serve as a substitute teacher on Wednesday.
  • The state is facing staff shortages due to Omicron, and she sees this as a way of "leading by example."
  • She's also launched a program to bring volunteer substitute teachers into the classroom to combat shortages.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico will serve as a volunteer substitute teacher for the first on Wednesday as her state facing staff shortages due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Washington Post reported.

Lujan Grisham, who's had a long career in public service but has no formal background in education, recently launched a "Supporting Teachers and Families" initiative to "provide critical support for New Mexico's schools and child care facilities" as the Omicron wave continues to disrupt classrooms.

"I am excited to be stepping into a classroom in the coming days to support our teachers during this overwhelming time," Lujan Grisham told The Washington Post. "I believe in leading by example, and so do the dozens of other like-minded National Guardsmen and state employees who are joining me in this effort to keep our kids in class, our parents at work, and our educators able to fully focus on what they do best: teaching our children."

 

Video: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signs up to be a volunteer substitute teacher (KOAT Albuquerque)

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Under the plan, state workers and National Guard members can volunteer to serve in classrooms, undergoing a background check and in online workshop in preparation for the job. 

According to the Governor's office, staffing shortages have spurred 60 school districts and charter schools in the state to switch to remote learning since the winter break, and 75 child care centers have partially or completely closed since the beginning of the year.

"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 Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus in a statement.

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