Updated: July 24, 2020 06:19 AM
Created: July 23, 2020 07:18 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham addressed concerns Thursday about her Public Education Department secretary's decision to remain in Philadelphia with his family during the pandemic.
"We made a collective decision that it was far better, and a better public health practice, to wait out to the highest degree possible (of) COVID," the governor said. " He will be with his family in New Mexico, I hope he has found his dream house, no later than mid-August."
4 Investigates reported that Stewart was commuting from New Mexico to Philadelphia prior to the pandemic. In March, Stewart moved back to Philadelphia on a full-time basis, and has managed New Mexico’s Public Education Department from there since.
Days before the governor's press conference, KOB 4 asked Stewart about his timeline for moving to New Mexico.
"We were really on a track to get there and had hoped to already be there. We have a lot more uncertainty now as we figure out the tricks of moving in a global pandemic," Stewart said. "There are still a lot of things we need to figure out.
The governor gave Stewart praise Thursday. She said his is successfully accomplishing his work despite the physical distance between Santa Fe and Philadelphia.
"The same is true for the secretary who is expected to do his work the way all of us-- telecommute from wherever we are in the state to work because we don't have state workers coming to work because it's not good public health practice and ineffective, and we are trying to control the rate of spread," Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
The governor announced in-person learning can begin after Labor Day. If Stewart moves to New Mexico in mid-August, he could have to quarantine for 14 days. However, the timeline should still allow him to be physically present when children return to class.
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