Created: November 10, 2020 10:27 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Rio Rancho School Board decided to pull the plug on in-person learning Tuesday and transition back to online-only learning amid rising COVID cases.
Although school leaders said the hybrid learning model has been successful, circumstances over the last few weeks have drastically changed.
“We would do that as long as we felt it was safe for the students and safe for the staff in the buildings, and so I think our situation right now, based on what we've heard, is I don't know if we are at that point now, and I do think we need to reconsider where we are,” said RRPS Superintendent Dr. Sue Cleveland.
But board members said they’re also worried about students’ emotional well-being.
“That's the piece that really hurts my heart the most. I understand the importance of these kids being with one another. It helps them out tremendously, but is that the best thing right now, and that's kind of where I'm torn right now,” said Jeffrey Morgan, RRPS Board Vice President.
School officials raised concerns about the upcoming holidays. People that travel will have to quarantine upon their return. If too many teachers travel, that could mean not enough staff for in-person learning.
The school district has had about 40 positive tests, but representatives said the virus is not spreading in schools. RRPS said one student is currently critically ill with COVID.
RRPS said online-only learning will begin Nov. 23 and will continue till January 19.
In Santa Fe, SFPS announced students will return to learning fully online Nov. 20 through the end of the semester.
Albuquerque Public Schools said they’re still working on plans for an in-person hybrid model.
"I think everybody looks at it and wonders, what are the next steps, because, not only are the numbers going up, but they talk about the hospitals being crowded, and I think that makes everybody nervous,” said APS Superintendent Scott Elder.
APS said they’re seeing a rise in cases that is in-line with the state’s recent uptick.
"Obviously they're not getting it at school, but it does speak to the concern about people bringing it into the schools,” Elder said.
State lawmakers received a statewide school report last month, which showed that many more students than normal were failing in school.
Elder said APS has seen the increase, but with all the technological difficulties, he’s not surprised.
School districts also emphasized how hard teachers and staff are working to provide the best experience possible for students.
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