Executive orders and county health orders continue to impact LEAs in 2022
Orders relate to substitutes, board meetings and changes in contact tracing protocols
a teacher applying hand sanitizer on a student's hand
Schools have had to navigate numerous obstacles to educate students in person amid the omicron surge and resulting staffing shortages this year. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters year three, state and local authorities continue to use temporary orders to try to address these ongoing challenges. School districts and county offices of education should continue to monitor statewide executive orders, California Department of Public Health guidance, and their local county health orders that may affect their schools.

This article is intended to update boards on some of the recent executive orders, guidelines and health orders affecting local educational agencies. On Feb. 25, 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to roll back some of his executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining the proclaimed State of Emergency. Updates in this article include the Feb. 25 executive order and how it applies to Executive Order N-3-22.

Addressing staffing issues

Gov. Newsom signed temporary Executive Order N-3-22 on Jan. 11, 2022, relaxing state regulations around the hiring of substitute teachers to increase staffing flexibility in response to shortages caused by the omicron surge. The order took effect immediately and expires on March 31, 2022. Under the order, LEAs must make a written finding that the more flexible rules will allow them to maintain in-person instruction despite staffing shortages.

The order:

  • Allows LEAs to issue 30-day emergency substitute credentials without regard to whether the recipient has a pending credential or permit application, provided candidates have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and pass a criminal background check.
  • Lengthens the duration for which substitute teachers can be assigned to a single general education assignment from the current maximum of 60 days to the new limit of 120 days.
  • Permits student teachers to serve as teachers without the requirement that the student teacher be under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher in a classroom for purposes of calculating a school district’s average daily attendance for apportionment for each day, or portion of a day.
  • Continues existing financial incentives for retiree teachers. These incentives include suspension of certain post-retirement compensation limitations and suspension of the required 180-day service break — a suspension that applies to classified employees as well.

On Jan. 13, 2022, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing issued Coded Correspondence Number 22-01, which clarified that the executive order does not waive the Basic Skills Requirement for substitute teachers. The Basic Skills Requirement can be met by passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), or other options described in Commission Leaflet CL-667 (

On Feb. 25, 2022, Gov. Newsom issued Executive Order No. N-04-22 that, among other things, provided clarification of Executive Order N-3-22. It confirms that Executive Order N-3-22 expires March 31, 2022. However, it provides updates that “grandfather” in those employees the LEA employed pursuant to the terms of Executive Order N-3-22. Specifically:

  • Any days for which a substitute teacher was assigned to a single general education assignment during the 2021–22 school year prior to the termination of the executive order on March 31, 2022, do not count toward limitations on the number of days a substitute teacher may be assigned to a general education assignment.
  • Any compensation earned by a retired teacher during the 2021–22 school year prior to March 31, 2022, is not counted toward the CalSTRS post-retirement compensation limits.
  • Retired teachers or classified employees who meet normal retirement age and returned to service before March 31, 2022, may continue in service even if they are still within the 180-day post-retirement employment waiting period.
Executive Order N-1-22 does not alter AB 361 for LEAs

Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 361 on Sept. 16, 2021, which amends the Brown Act to provide some relief from its teleconference requirements and allows boards to continue conducting public meetings remotely when there is a declared state of emergency, so long as certain requirements are met. (See CSBA’s in-depth look at AB 361 at

On Jan. 5, 2022, Gov. Newsom issued Executive Order N-1-22, which extended certain deadlines in AB 361. The order raised confusion for some governing boards because it extended the timeline for state agency boards to have virtual meetings, but members should be aware that the executive order does not apply to school boards or county boards of education. The provisions in AB 361 that apply to school boards and county boards of education, part of the Brown Act, do not sunset until Jan. 1, 2024.

Group-tracing notification option

On Jan. 12, 2022, CDPH revised its student quarantine guidance in its COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools, providing a “Group-Tracing” approach to students exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting. The new approach is meant to be less onerous than the pre-existing quarantine and contact tracing guidelines. CDPH provided a sample notification letter, available at Districts and county offices should note that stricter guidance may be issued by their local public health officials.

Please note that the information provided here by CSBA is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. Please contact your district or county office of education’s legal counsel, or CSBA’s District and County Office of Education Legal Services, for legal questions related to this information.