Judge: Teachers do not have to show up in person for training

Coronavirus New Mexico

GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico school district cannot require its workers to show up in person at least this week, despite the district’s claim that it is not violating the public health order.

“Nobody can argue that we are violating of the safeguards and precautions that are set out by the Department of Health and CDC,” said Andrew Sanchez, attorney for Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools.

Monday a judge affirmed an emergency decision from last week upholding a temporary restraining order against Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools. It comes after the district told teachers they would have to show up to watch professional development videos. The School Workers’ Union argued that violated state mandates that workers cannot be required to show up for work they could do remotely.

Judge David Pederson agreed that certain jobs, like meal distribution, do require employees to be on campus but he said this training would not qualify and agreed with the teachers that the stakes would be too high to let the district have its way until the matter is resolved.

There is a hearing on Friday to decide whether the temporary order will become a permanent injunction against the district.

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