ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4/ KDXU) – Parents in the Washington County School District should expect to get a letter from their children’s school sometime this week. This comes after Governor Spencer Cox passed an executive order providing time off for state employees to substitute in Utah schools amid staffing shortages,

“Requesting that if they’re a state employee, they look at ways they can help out in their school, this is something that we would like to take advantage of and utilize for our students,” says Steven Dunham.

According to Dunham, they have a 73% teacher retention rate, the highest in the state, with Utah’s average at 53%. With Washington County School District being fully staffed, Dunham thinks location, as well as the unique programs offered at schools, keeps teachers around.

“We’ve had a lot of people move in that have brought their talent from other areas and we’ve really ended up in great position, better than years passed,” he says

But he says they’re struggling to fill classified positions.

“Our bus drivers, our custodians, our cafeteria workers, secretaries and our part-time para educators, that help in the classroom, that’s where we’re struggling to find staffing positions available,” says Dunham.

Dunham says as the district is in need of substitutes as full-time staff members are coming down with COVID-19 or other illnesses and he’s hopeful the Governor’s order will help fill the gaps.

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