Albuquerque teachers union questions timing of potential hybrid option

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The APS Board of Education has not approved a full hybrid model yet. The district is waiting until Bernalillo County is in the Green level of reopening.

Concerns from teachers about their health was one of the main reasons APS has not widely offered in-person learning.

Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, said there are other potential problems with a large-scale return.

"One of the most important decisions the board is going to have to make is how to provide the most continuity for the teaching and learning process," she said.

Bernstein questions whether a hybrid schedule, with kids going two days a week, is best– this late into the school year.

Teachers who choose not to return would still teach remotely while their students would be sitting in the classroom.

Remote learning at least has brought consistency, Bernstein contends.

"This is working for some people," she said. "I think teachers have been amazingly creative."

"Maybe the stability is more important than having them come in and then switch in and out," Bernstein added.

Bernstein said she is a fan of the new voluntary small groups, which the board approved two weeks ago.

She believes expanding those small groups could be beneficial. APS reports 20 schools are offering the small group option. It’s expected to expand in the coming weeks, with 10,000 kids taking advantage of in-person learning.

Many teachers have said they do not want to return to the classroom until they’re vaccinated. But Bernstein said the union would not stand in the way if teachers are mandated to go back if the county reaches the Green level of reopening.

Teachers would have to get an official exemption to stay home. However, Bernstein said some teachers would rather quit than be forced to return.