The New Mexico’s Public Education Department has released the state’s plan on how to safely reopen schools in the fall.
According to a release, the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a hybrid model where the number of students in the building will be limited to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure social distancing practices. Students will also rotate between in-person and online learning.
Below is a FAQ based on information released in the New Mexico Public Education Department Reentry plan.
Q: When will schools begin to reopen?
A: Beginning August 3, all schools in New Mexico will be able to start the school year utilizing a hybrid model of instruction.
Specifically, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) has been preparing a hybrid model of learning for the school year scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Q: What is a hybrid model of instruction?
A: Under a hybrid model, the number of students in the building at any time is capped by the number that can be accommodated while adhering to at least six feet of social distancing or 50% classroom capacity level. Students not in the building will engage in remote learning.
Q: What is “hybrid learning”?
A: Combination of some in-person days and some online days.
Q: Are face coverings required for staff and students at school?
A: Yes. Face coverings are required at all times except for eating, drinking and exercising.
Q: Will staff be screened daily for COVID-19?
A: Yes. All staff will be screened on a daily basis which includes temperature checks and a review of potential symptoms. If they have an internal temperature over 100.4°F, they will be sent home to self-isolate.
Q: Will students be screened before they enter the building?
A: Yes. Students will be screened before entering the building. That may include a temperature check. According to the PED Reentry Guidelines, schools will take temperature checks ideally before students enter the building. Screening procedures may differ depending on the school district.
Q: What are some of the possible hybrid learning schedules?
A: According the PED, there are few different hybrid learning schedules school districts can use.
Alternating Days: Group A Students—Monday/Tuesday and Group B Students—Thursday/Friday. Wednesday is remote/distance learning for all students, professional learning for staff, and a day to
clean the building.
Alternating Weeks: Group A Students—Week One and Group B Students—Week Two.
Targeted distance/remote learning: Prioritize in-person learning for elementary students by
spreading them out across all school buildings. Have secondary students engage in remote learning.
Q: Will visitors be allowed on school campuses?
A: No. School campuses will restrict nonessential visitors and volunteers.
Q: Do schools have to have a contract tracing plan?
A: Yes. All districts/schools must work with state and local health officials to have a plan for contact tracing.
Q: How will lunch be served?
A: If schools plan to serve meals in the cafeteria:
- Mark spaced lines to enter the cafeteria and serving lines; designate entrances and exit flow paths.
- Schedule longer meal periods for more staggering meal delivery.
- Maximize social distancing to space seating and utilize outdoor seating as practicable and appropriate.
- Conduct cleaning of cafeterias and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day
If schools plan to serve meals in a classroom:
- Consider pre-packaged boxes or bags for each student instead of traditional serving lines.
- Avoid sharing of foods and utensils.
Q: What happens if a faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
A: The school will be closed and thoroughly cleaned. The school will not reopen until it has been cleaned. According to the PED, they recommend schools wait 24 hours before they begin to clean and disinfect.
Q: Will there be assemblies at school?
A: No. Large group gatherings will be avoided at school.
Q: Will students have to wear masks while on the bus?
Q: Will there be a limit of people on a school bus?
A: Yes. A maximum of two students may sit together on a bus seat and there will be assigned seating. No information has been released on the exact number of students that can ride a bus.
Q: Will bus drivers be required to wear masks?
A: Bus drivers, bus attendants, and students are required to wear face masks or face shields while on the bus.
Q: Will screening take place before kids get on the bus?
A: Yes. Kids will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before they get on the bus which may include temperature checks. According to the PED, conducting temperature checks on students before they get on the bus is recommended but not required. This will vary, depending on the school district.
Q: Will bus drives and bus attendants be screened each day?
A: Yes. Bus drivers and bus attendants will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before they get on the bus which may include temperature checks.