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Superintendent's News

Posted: March 23, 2021

All APS Schools to Reopen April 5

In a letter to the APS community, Interim Superintendent Scott Elder outlines plans for reopening schools.

I wanted to fill you in on our plans to reopen all APS schools on Monday, April 5.

All Albuquerque Public Schools students, from preschoolers to seniors in high school, are welcome to return to their schools if they choose, though families have the option of continuing remote learning through the remainder of the school year. We ask that families let their schools know which option works best for them.

Students who choose to head back to the classroom will be expected to be on campus five days a week following their school’s normal bell schedule from Monday, April 5, through Tuesday, May 25, the last day of school. During those 37 school days, students will develop routines, come to understand expectations, and adapt to protocols that will help them move more smoothly into the new school year.

APS employees are encouraged to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine (or if they have already, to make sure they update their employment information to K-12 Educator or School Staff.) While APS schools are safe to open according to state and federal guidelines, vaccinations bring a greater sense of safety. 

Employees who are identified as high-risk will be allowed to wait two weeks after they are fully vaccinated before returning to the workplace, which could impact the first few days back in the classroom for some students.

School will look and feel quite a bit different than normal due to the pandemic:

  • Because some students will continue to learn at home, students who return to their schools will be expected to bring their fully charged APS-issued technology devices (Chromebooks or iPads) to class with them every day.
  • The district is asking that families provide transportation to and from school for their children when possible. APS probably won’t have enough bus drivers to resume all routes, so it will prioritize transportation services to areas with the highest needs. Students will be able to ride city buses for free. Walking groups and carpools are encouraged.
  • Students will be required to wear face masks throughout the day. While they are expected to provide their own masks, spares will be available for students who forget.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be served at school and will be available to pick up for students who continue to learn remotely. Times and locations for grab-and-go meals are still being worked out, but they probably will be moved from school sites to more centralized locations. Students at school will be encouraged to eat outside when possible, and lunch schedules will be staggered to avoid large groups.
  • Students and staff will be expected to social distance to the greatest extent possible, which means no large group activities or gatherings such as field trips, assemblies, and end-of-year festivals.  APS does plan to hold limited in-person high school graduations in mid-May.
  • School custodians will make it a priority to clean high-touch surfaces and to stock bathrooms with soap and classrooms with hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies. 
  • The district will soon make available school safety checklists that include information on ventilation, personal protective equipment, fire marshal inspections, safety checks, and more.
  • Windows and doors in classrooms and schools and air conditioning dampers will be kept open to allow for the circulation of fresh air, which could lead to fluctuating temperatures during the school day. Students are encouraged to dress in layers and bring jackets with them. Students who need jackets, other clothing or school supplies can get assistance through the APS Community Clothing Bank. Ask your teacher, counselor, or school social worker for assistance. 
  • Students won’t be allowed to use water fountains. Instead, water stations will be available to fill up reusable bottles. 
  • Volunteers won’t be allowed on campus.
  • Child care will continue on campuses where it normally is provided.
  • Families who withdrew their children from APS schools due to the pandemic will have an opportunity to re-enroll for in-person learning. Contact your child’s school for more information.
  • Standardized tests will be optional but not mandatory for most students. More information will be provided by your child’s school.

APS has been planning for the return of students since schools were closed a year ago. There are some last-minute details to work out, but we will be ready with open arms (at a safe distance) in a few weeks.

We will continue to provide updates through our schools and offices, the APS.edu website, newsletters, social media, and the media. I encourage you to stay informed.