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Posted: July 23, 2020

APS, Teachers' Union Agree on Plan for Safe Return to School

The Memoranda of Understanding is a mix of online and in-school training, planning, and teaching.

Albuquerque Public Schools and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation have reached an agreement on the safe return of in-person schooling.

The COVID-19 Memoranda of Understanding acknowledges that in-person school is best for students, but there are still significant health and safety concerns over reopening schools.

The agreement states the Reentry Plan will begin Aug. 5 as scheduled, but teachers and others represented by the teachers' union have the option of working from home when guidelines outlined in the New Mexico Public Education Reentry Plan are met. Training, planning, meetings, and teaching will all take place online during the first few weeks of school, though teachers may choose to work in their classrooms and meet in small groups as long as they abide by statewide public health orders.

Even as teachers and staff are allowed to work from home, some work will need to be done at school. Teachers are responsible for arranging their classrooms for social distancing, collecting instructional materials, and becoming comfortable with procedures and routines designed to keep them and their students safe and healthy.

When employees are at school, they will be expected to abide by statewide public health orders, including social distancing, wearing face coverings in public places, and congregating in small groups only. APS will provide employees with masks, extra cleaning supplies for their classrooms, hand sanitizer, and other protective equipment.

The MOU also outlines procedures for high-risk employees to explore reasonable accommodations, which could include working from home. The process, which includes filling out a form, is detailed in the MOU. 

Albuquerque Public Schools has engaged REDW, LLC (“REDW”) to process the unusually large volume of requests for Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Accommodation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. You can reach REDW directly by emailing Lydia Craig, Human Resources Consulting Manager, at

Visit our Request for Remote Work Assignment web page for complete information intended to assist you in your application for accommodation and/or to inform you of the process to formally apply for a remote assignment for the Fall 2020 semester.

In a joint statement to APS employees, APS Interim Superintendent Scott Elder and ATF President Ellen Bernstein wrote:

"We hope that this joint communication finds you, and yours, doing well and staying healthy.  As the District prepares to implement its Instructional and Operational Reentry Plan for this upcoming school year, APS and ATF staff worked diligently and collaboratively to create the attached COVID-19 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Albuquerque Public Schools and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. APS and ATF know that in-person schooling is best for our students. Unfortunately, there are still significant COVID-19 related concerns about the safety of students, educators, and our communities. To that end, we believe this MOU will continue to move us forward to the safe return to in-person schooling.

APS and ATF will continue to work collaboratively to determine how to most effectively utilize staff during this time. All paid staff should be available to participate in the ongoing improvement of the educational process to best meet the needs of our students during this very challenging time. APS and ATF mutually agree and understand that schools and educators will face challenges and barriers that will need to be addressed. We believe that the negotiated MOU will help all of you to keep safe and keep schools running.

Lastly, we share the mutual belief that providing a high-quality education for the children of Albuquerque is our paramount objective.  We also believe and affirm that it must be safe to do so."

Educators are encouraged to read the Memoranda of Understanding for more information on the safe return to in-person schooling.

Tags: Reentry