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Reentry Plan News

Posted: November 18, 2020

APS Extends Remote Learning Into Second Semester

Plans call for some in-person learning in small groups starting with the district's youngest students once the spread of the coronavirus is mitigated.

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education voted to continue remote learning for all students at least until Jan. 19, 2021. The decision was reached after discussing the public health crisis and the exploding number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. 

The APS administration presented the Board of Education with plans for a return to some in-person learning starting with the district’s youngest students. Plans are contingent on several factors, including adherence to gating criteria, safety and transportation concerns, access to adequate PPE, facility readiness, and guidance from the New Mexico Public Education Department on next steps for middle and high school students.

The 2020-2021 school year began with remote learning, which was then extended through the first semester with the hope of having at least some students start the second semester in a hybrid learning model that combines remote and in-person learning. The pandemic has since worsened, forcing the Board to push the targeted hybrid plan back at least a few more weeks and to include fewer students.  

“We don’t know if new health protocols ordered by the governor will help curb the spread of the virus,” said APS Board President Dr. David Peercy. “We’ve seen that every time there’s a national holiday, a chance for people to gather, they continue to do so. We expect some of our staff, students, and families to travel during winter break, and they will need 14 days to quarantine when they return, so a January 5th target date for a hybrid learning wasn’t realistic.” 

“If the spread slows and we meet state criteria for opening more classrooms, we can start with small groups at elementary schools. We would proceed with a focus on equity,” said Interim  Superintendent Scott Elder. “Students who are struggling, those who would benefit most from in-person instruction would be first on the list, and we would expand the hybrid model from there.”

So far during the pandemic, only students with special needs have received in-person instruction. 

This week, New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart reported 2,260 cases of coronavirus in New Mexico schools since September with a positivity rate of 11.86 percent from surveillance testing of staff and school districts in the hybrid model. APS last week recorded 127 coronavirus cases in the school community.

APS will continue to update its school community as the situation evolves. The best source of information is APS.edu.  

“We ask everyone to please do everything possible to reduce the spread of the virus,” Elder said. “Wear face masks, social distance, limit exposure to those in your immediate circle, wash your hands often and do your part so we can reach a point where it’s safe for everyone to return to in-person classes and resume some semblance of normalcy.”