Santa Fe teachers can request medical exemptions during pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Santa Fe school board says teachers and staff can seek medical exemptions from face-to-face instruction during the pandemic. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Thursday night, the school board approved an agreement with the National Education Association Santa Fe that decided all staff considered “high risk” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be exempt from returning to campus this school year.

This includes anyone over the age of 65, those with heart conditions, a weakened immune system, cancer, are pregnant, have chronic kidney disease, COPD, obesity, sickle cell disease, or type II diabetes. So far, the district says they have received 110 exemption requests from teachers.

The Santa Fe New Mexican states that according to the agreement, staff that lives with a family member, partner, or spouse that qualifies for the group will be given preference if they request to work from home, however, an exemption is not guaranteed. The human resources director stated that the district has over 300 employees who are older than 65.

Next week, Superintendent Dr. Veronica Garcia said a series of town halls next week will address the concerns of parents and teachers regarding remote learning and the possibility of returning to school campuses.

The fall semester is set to begin on August 20 with students learning remotely for the first nine weeks of school. If determined that it’s safe to return, a hybrid model of education that includes in-person and remote learning would allow students to return to campus. According to the Santa Fe Public Schools website, each student has the option to attend school remotely for the entire year if preferred by their parents.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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