Supporters, opponents of hybrid learning voice their opinions ahead of APS decision

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Protesters were out at APS headquarters Wednesday, ahead of a School Board meeting that would determine whether the district would offer hybrid learning.

Some teachers and staff do not want to return to the classroom unless Bernalillo County is in the green level of restriction or they are given the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

They believe starting in-person learning prematurely could have devastating consequences.

"We want to be vaccinated or the conditions to be improving, and we’re not there yet," said Robert Feuer, who teaches at Highland High School. "The district is not there yet. Their HVAC is not updated. Their plan is not well conceived."

Some parents and students in favor of the hybrid option also showed up at APS headquarters Wednesday.

They believe the risk for teachers is no different from having any other essential job.

The students added that virtual learning has taken a toll on their mental health.

"I think on paper or on screen, a lot of the boxes are getting checked, but it’s a lot of the intangibles that we really see them lacking– just learning how to interact with people or learning to be leaders or mentor of younger students, and I think complacency has set in," said Joey Belville.

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation says the APS reentry proposal includes a return to the classroom while continuing remote learning for four days the week of Feb. 16. Hybrid learning for small groups—25% of the class—would begin Feb. 22. Hybrid learning will expand to the 50% model March 8. Spring break is planned for the week of March 22.