New Mexico schools to stay closed for rest of year

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Public Education Department officials announced Friday that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year because concerns about the coronavirus spread. Despite that major change, the state still is expecting schools to keep teaching kids in some capacity.

The state’s PED acknowledged Friday that restarting school this year would put students in a dangerous position. “We know that we still haven’t reached the peak of this and we’re still a ways away from the peak, and it’s quite clear that it’s not yet safe to be able to bring our students back into school,” said Ryan Steward, PED secretary.

Extending the original order now means the state is writing off the last nine weeks of classroom instruction because of the coronavirus. The PED also says that missed time will not have to be made up by students, because they are waving the “instructional hour requirements.”

However, they’re now forcing all public and charter schools now to submit “continuous learning plans” to the state. That means even though students will not be in class, every district is going to have to figure out a way to keep their students engaged.

High school seniors are in a different category. PED says every district will have to come up with a plan for seniors, whether it’s a competency exam or if they have met the requirements like getting good scores on an ACT or SAT test. Those tests will vary from district to district.

There will also be no grades given out, everyone in school will be judged on a “pass or fail” scale. “We are going to continue to engaged them in a high-quality learning experience, and we’re going to explore every option that we can to make sure that we’re getting resources to them and that we’re supporting our families and our educators to provide as much guidance as we can and make sure that even though we have to be separated, that we are not allowing students to lose the full amount of this instructional time,” said Stewart.

The PED has set an April 8 deadline for schools to submit their “continuous learning” plans to the state. The PED also says districts are still planning to keep meal programs going as well.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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