Assembly passes Rep. Amore and Sen. Archambault’s bill that temporarily suspends the cap on days worked by retired teachers due to COVID-19
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) and Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) which temporarily suspends the cap on the number of days retired educators can work without penalty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently allowable under the governor’s Executive Order, the suspension of rules was set to expire on March 31.
“The pandemic has stressed our education and healthcare systems to their limits and we have seen the crucial necessity to be adaptable when dealing with this virus while also delivering the services our residents rely upon and need. This bill will allow us to continue to be adaptable when educating our students and caring for our sick as we remain vigilant during the still ongoing pandemic,” said Representative Amore.
“Our students have been through so much over the past two years and without this legislation, they faced the possibility of further disruption to their educations. I am happy that the General Assembly came together to give our schools the flexibility they need to continue serving our children properly throughout the end of the school year while also strengthening the strained staffing levels of our healthcare system,” said Senator Archambault.
The legislation (2022-H 7825, 2022-S 2560) extends the rule exemption to the end of the current school year. It also addresses requirements that certain school vehicles are used in the transportation of students when on specific routes. The legislation allows other types of vehicles to be used and all vehicles transporting children would have the proper safety equipment and features needed to keep students safe.
If the legislation was not passed, Rhode Island would have been left with a shortage of teachers, substitute teachers and transportation options from April 1 through the remainder of the school year.
Finally, the legislation also eases the work requirements for registered nurse graduates pending licensure, allowing more much-needed nurses the opportunity to work while the state still combats COVID-19 and its impacts.
The legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.