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Superintendent's News

Posted: December 18, 2020

Holiday Wishes From Supt. Elder

"One of my holiday wishes is to soon see students back in our classrooms, even if they are sitting six feet apart; to hear laughter in the hallways, even if it is muffled by masks."

Student artwork featured on APS Board of Education holiday cards.

Student artwork featured on APS Board of Education holiday cards.

This has been a very unusual holiday season with its virtual choirs and concerts, virtual Secret Santas and holiday parties, virtual cards and presents. It’s like nothing we have ever experienced nor could have anticipated. And yet, we’re making it work. We have figured out how to spread good cheer without spreading the virus, and we are sending our students and staff off for a well-deserved winter break with goodwill, good wishes, and hopes for a happy new year.

That’s what I love about the people I work with and the students and families I work for – their resilience, their optimism, their ability to turn adversity into opportunity. That’s been our modus operandi all school year, and it will continue into 2021.  

With the new year comes the promise of better days. The end of this pandemic is in sight, and visions of normalcy are dancing in our heads. We are realistic about the months ahead – we know we have a ways to go and many challenges to overcome. But we have a plan. 

We'll start the second semester as we finished the first -- in remote learning for all students. The earliest we might see small groups of students back in classrooms is mid-January – after MLK Day and the expected spike in coronavirus cases following the holidays.

We won't even bring small groups of students back for in-person learning until the state deems Bernalillo County at low risk for the spread of the virus. The criteria for earning that rating are steep – no more than 8 COVID cases per 100,000 residents during a two-week period and an average percent of positive test results of 5 percent or less. This week, Bernalillo County was averaging more than 81 cases per 100,000 residents and had a more than 14 percent positivity test rate.

So, prepare for remote teaching and learning when you return from winter break, but be ready to switch to our hybrid model as the situation improves – which it will eventually, I promise. One of my holiday wishes is to soon see students soon back in our classrooms, even if they are sitting six feet apart; to hear laughter in the hallways, even if it is muffled by masks. 

In the meantime, enjoy some well-deserved time off. Catch your breath, get some rest, then prepare to tackle the coming new year with vim and vigor. I am grateful for you. I have faith in us. I pray for a bright future for all. 

Happy Holidays! 

And speaking of virtual performances, here's one for your holiday enjoyment by the La Cueva High School Camerata.

A Christmas Festival