Most Carlsbad residents have already heard the news that New Mexico is preparing to expand in-person learning for students of all ages by Feb. 8.
We all certainly have a wide variety of opinions related to this issue, but we do believe getting our kids safely be back in school is an overall positive. Previously, the state had based its school plans on county gating criteria, meaning most schools in New Mexico have been using online only for most of the previous year.
Later on Tuesday, the Public Education Department announced that school districts will have three options. Schools throughout the state may bring back students on a hybrid model in which 50% of students return at a time. Districts and schools with fewer than 100 students can bring back all students as long as no more than six people are in an enclosed space at one time. Finally, districts who aren’t ready for the full hybrid can expand small-ground instruction to all grades. This process previously existed at the K-3 level.
Locally, Carlsbad Municipal Schools released a statement saying that the goal of the district has always been to bring students back to school as quickly and safely as possible. The school noted that there is a long list of eligibility requirements and many logistical requirements to work out.
“While many of us are anxious to resume in-person learning, we have to do it in a way that allows for the best possibility of returning to an in-person learning environment,” Dr. Washburn writes. “Schools, staff, parents and the community at large should not expect a complete return on February 8. Our return will be measured and thoughtful. In that way, we will not only start in-person learning, but we will also finish it.”
Dr. Washburn pledged to share details of the plan over the next two weeks. It is very important to mention that Carlsbad’s schools did not have all of the specifics in terms of what their requirements would be until this week. While they have certainly been prepared for the possibility of opening for some time, they did not have the important details. We will support our administrators, teachers and school board however we are able.
On Tuesday night, Carlsbad’s City Council voted unanimously in support of Carlsbad’s college working toward independence. Craig Stephens, the chair of our higher education task force, did an excellent job updating members of council. We also appreciate remarks made by Jay Jenkins, president of Carlsbad National Bank, recommending independence and the reasons for it. We believe independence would provide more opportunity for Carlsbad’s students, faculty and staff, and we appreciate all of the ongoing support. Thank you as well to the Current-Argus for the very comprehensive coverage of this topic last Sunday.