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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 12, 2022

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Principals:

Navigating Staff Shortages During the Omicron Surge

Increased Supports and Consultation Prior to School Closure Decisions

The California Department of Education (CDE) is aware that staff shortages due to COVID-19 related illness and quarantine are very real and especially prevalent for our schools during the Omicron variant surge.

On Tuesday, January 11, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-3-22 (available at https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/1.11.21-N-3-22-School-Staffing-EO-signed.pdf), providing schools with more short-term staffing flexibility to support in-person learning by lowering state barriers that delay the hiring of qualified short-term substitute teachers, permitting substitute teachers to have their assignments extended, allowing short-term flexibility for student teachers to be assigned to classrooms, and providing additional flexibility to support retired teachers who have returned to the classroom.

In addition, the White House issued a fact sheet this morning announcing increased COVID-19 testing for schools. You can read those details on the White House Briefing Room web page at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/01/12/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-increases-covid-19-testing-in-schools-to-keep-students-safe-and-schools-open/. The California Safe Schools For All Hub website provides updates on testing and more and can be found at https://schools.covid19.ca.gov/.

This is an important reminder that Section 19 of Assembly Bill 167 (Chapter 252, Statutes of 2021) amended Education Code Section 46392 to require consultation from the CDE and the County Office of Education before local educational agencies can submit a Request for Allowance of Attendance Due to Emergency Conditions Form J-13A due to staff shortages to CDE.

CDE staff is available for consultation about different options and practices available to help schools stay open for learning. If you are in need of information and support, sign up for your consultation on the CDE Staff Shortage Consultation Electronic Form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfT9RmbOCvdX6djRaSIkwa-IyBKcTqlBsWCce-C7PRpJLESSw/viewform. Please contact CDE at staffshortageconsultation@cde.ca.gov with any questions or visit the CDE 2021–22 Form J-13A - Frequently Asked Questions web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/formj13afaq2122.asp for guidance related to the requirements and submissions for this fiscal year.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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