TOPEKA (AP) — Substitute teachers in Kansas will not be required to have college credit hours under an emergency declaration approved Wednesday in response to a worsening staff shortage in the state’s schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rule temporarily eliminates a requirement that substitutes have a minimum of 60 semester credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university.

The Kansas State Board of Education said the changes will last only until June 1, when the more stringent requirements will return.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said during the state board meeting that he knew of four school districts ready to close because they don’t have enough staff, which he called “the tip of the iceberg.”

Under the new rules, candidates will need to be 18, have a high school diploma, a commitment from a district for employment, pass a background check and fill out an application.

Board member Melanie Haas, of Overland Park, said the measure was a “last resort,” The Kansas City Star reported.

“Some of the comments I have heard from teachers are very angry,” Haas said. “They feel very devalued. … This is to help you guys out. “

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