New Mexico asks National Guard members to substitute teach amid COVID spike in schools, daycare

Guardsmen as substitute teachers appears to be pandemic first
National Guard fighting coronavirus, Maryland

New Mexico is asking National Guard members and state employees to volunteer as substitute teachers to keep schools and daycare centers open during a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The volunteers will be receive their usual pay and be considered on administrative leave or active duty, respectively, according to Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

While Guardsmen have mobilized across the U.S. to help in hospitals and clinics during the now roughly 2-years-long pandemic, New Mexico appeared to be the first state to ask them to become classroom teachers, according to Reuters.

The surge of infections in the state, a result of the emergence of the virus’ highly contagious Omicron variant, has resulted in roughly 60 New Mexico schools switching to remote learning since winter break and 75 child daycare centers partially or completely closing amid a wave of employees becoming infected or quarantining, according to a statement from the governor obtained by the wire service.

Volunteers will undergo background checks and get training, and the reservists will be unarmed.