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If things go well, soon local experts in finance, construction, medicine, and other fields may be allowed to bring their knowledge to area students as short-term substitute teachers.

On Monday, the Minnesota Senate approved a bill to address teacher shortages by opening the door to more qualified substitutes. The bill would widen the pool of qualified applicants for “short-call” substitute teachers. Teacher shortages have been an issue, particularly for rural communities, even prior to the onset of COVID-19. The gap has been made worse by quarantines and other health-related absences, threatening schools’ ability to offer in-person instruction.

Senator Gary Dahms, of Redwood Falls, told KLGR this week:

Dahms said one of the most important things the bill does is reduce or eliminate licencing requirements for short-term substitute teachers, so community experts don’t need to be licensed by the state simply to speak to the students.

The provisions of the bill would be effective for this school year and the upcoming two school years. The bill is now awaiting action by the Minnesota House of Representatives.