New Mexico teacher refuses to return to class as COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread | KOB 4

New Mexico teacher refuses to return to class as COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread

Tommy Lopez
Updated: October 16, 2020 06:00 AM
Created: October 15, 2020 10:32 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Lisa Prendergast has been a teacher with Grants/Cibola County Schools for 12 years.

Her life has changed during the pandemic. She's been teaching virtually. However, the district is planning to resume in-person learning on Monday. 


Prendergast said she will not return to the classroom. Instead, she plans on using family medical leave. 

"We have tons of teachers who are looking at retiring over all of this," she said. "We have teachers, like myself, who are in high-risk groups who are unable to attend in-person, and it’s just unfortunate. We’re going to have a lot of substitutes doing a lot of teaching, and that’s not what’s good for kids.”

As New Mexico grapples with a surge of COVID-19 cases, Prendergast was hoping the governor would stop school districts from resuming in-person learning. However, the governor Thursday did not make any changes to restrictions for schools. 

"It’s just really disappointing," she said. "I think it’s kind of ridiculous that we’re going to increase exposure at this point when everything is really ratcheting up.” 

Cibola County was among the areas in the state that was managing to suppress the virus. However, the county has seen an uptick in cases over the past two weeks.

'That is very, very worrisome,” said Dr. David Scrase, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department.

Cibola County will be the latest district to opt for in-person learning. Rio Rancho Public Schools is offering in-person learning for elementary students, and the district isn't planning on any changes. 

Albuquerque Public Schools is mostly virtual. However, some students in special education classes are getting an in-person education. 

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