SALT LAKE CITY — Weeks after Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order to help school staffing shortages, the state's top politician headed to the classroom to work as a substitute.
Cox, along with his wife, First Lady Abby Cox, spent the day teaching at West Lake STEM Junior High School in Taylorsville.
The governor worked three periods as an 8th grade history teacher, while the First Lady subbed as a special education teacher at the school.
Last month, Cox issued his order that granted state employees 30 hours of administrative leave to become substitute teachers. Because of the enormous numbers of teachers and staff who have tested positive for COVID during the omicron surge, schools have struggled to fill their classrooms.
In the Granite School District, where West Lake is located, officials had 761 requests for substitutes last week, of which 192 went unfilled.
“Spending time in the classroom gave me even more respect for what our educators do every day. We can’t thank them enough for their skill and dedication, especially their extraordinary efforts during the pandemic,” Gov. Cox said. “Seeing the curiosity of these students and how they interacted with their peers and me as their substitute reinforced my view that in-person learning is the best environment for our students. We must do everything we can to keep our schools open.”