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Posted: June 23, 2020

All NM Schools to Open with a Combination of Online, In-School Learning

The New Mexico Public Education Department has released its Reentry Guidance for the 2020-2021 school year.

Across New Mexico, the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a hybrid model in which students rotate between in-person and online learning, and the number of students in school buildings is limited to allow for social distancing. According to the PED, the state Department of Health and a medical advisory team will track and assess rates of spread of the virus during this time to determine when and where students can safely return to school full-time.  

Albuquerque Public Schools has been preparing a hybrid model of learning for the school year scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Aug. 12. District teams made up of administrators, teachers, staff, and partners have been tasked with addressing such issues as safety, hygiene, sanitation and meals; logistics of social distancing; emotional recovery and wellbeing; essential learning; and community partnerships.

"We have been planning for a phased approach to opening schools as outlined by the PED's Reentry Guidance for several weeks now," said APS Chief Operations Officer Scott Elder, who will take over as acting superintendent on July 1. "We appreciate the detailed guidance provided by the state as we plan for teaching and learning in these most unusual of times. Working together, we will meet the challenges of the coming school year with flexibility, transparency, and dedication to the safety and wellbeing of the students we educate, the staff that works on their behalf, and the families and community that care about them."

School Entry Questions: 833-415-0567, or

From the Public Education Department 

  • The phased approach allows the state to analyze the impact of a controlled reentry before moving into a full-scale implementation. This will help ensure that the epidemiological assumptions about how schools impact virus transmission can be thoroughly tested before full reentry.
  • Schools will likely need to implement hybrid or remote models at some point in the year. The phased approach allows for preparation and practice in the implementation of this model at the beginning of the year so that schools and communities are ready for this eventuality later in the year.
  • The phased approach balances the legitimate concerns of families who expressed anxiety about returning full-scale right away with those who are rightly eager to return to a full school schedule.

In addition, schools will implement enhanced preventative measures. The following requirements will be in place for all schools whether operating in a hybrid or traditional model:

  • Large group gatherings will be avoided at school buildings
  • Face coverings are required except while eating, drinking and exercising (with very limited exceptions for students and staff with medical conditions precluding wearing of a mask or face shield; those medical conditions must be documented)
  • Schools must adhere to social distancing requirements of their designated category
  • All staff must be screened every day, including a temperature check and review of potential symptoms upon arrival at school
  • All staff must participate in ongoing surveillance testing
  • All sites must coordinate with local health officials to conduct contact tracing and rapid response testing
  • All transportation staff and students boarding buses must wear face coverings
  • Meals must be provided to students during both in-person instruction and remote learning.

Schools must create plans for and be prepared to remain in a hybrid model or shift to a distance learning model should health conditions necessitate such actions.

Tags: Reentry