FAQ: Albuquerque Public School Re-entry Plan

Coronavirus Resources

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Public School Board has approved a re-entry plan for students and staff this fall. Students will take part in remote learning for the entire fall semester. In the spring semester, pending pubilc health order, students may switch to a hybrid model of learning where they will be allowed to return to school.

Q: When will the 2020-21 school year begin for Albuquerque Public Schools?

A: The Albuquerque Public Schools Reentry Plan calls for school to begin remote learning the week of Aug. 12.

Q: When will remote learning stop?

A: Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education voted Wednesday, August 19, to extend remote learning through the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

Q: Why did the school board vote to keep students remote learning for the remainder of the school year?

A: The board made its decision after hearing from parents and teachers who expressed their concerns during the August 19 meeting. They also learned the results of an APS survey that found a majority of parents are uncomfortable sending their children back to the classroom.

Also, according to APS, nearly 5,000 teachers and school staff have requested to work from home due to health concerns for themselves, students, and/or household members. 

Q: What does remote learning look like?

A: Students have a daily schedule that includes core subject instruction, social-emotional learning, breaks, and time for teachers to reach out to students and their families.

Q: How is attendance recorded during remote learning?

A: Attendance during remote learning is based on engagement. APS says this could include logging into learning platforms such as Google Meets, See Saw, and Google Classroom.

Q: How will students work be graded during remote learning?

A: Grading is not pass/fail as it was during the spring semester. Student grades will reflect mastery of subject content and completion of coursework. Also, teachers will keep students and families informed on their progress. Grades will be posted to  ParentVUE and StudentVUE.

Q: What type of learning model will APS follow?

A: APS will operate in three models this school year depending on the status of the pandemic and health guidelines from the New Mexico’s Public Education Department. The entire fall semester, students will be distance learning or in the “Red Model.” Then in the spring semester, pending public health orders, APS will move to a hybrid model or the “Yellow Model.”

Q: What are APS’s “Red, Yellow, Green Learning Models“?

A: Red Model: Students engage in distance-learning at home full time, Monday through Friday. There is no bus transportation necessary or provided when operating in RED.

Yellow Model: Students attend on a hybrid schedule with one-week instruction in-person Tuesday through Friday at school, and the next week students engage in distance learning at home. All Mondays are designated distance learning from home days. Bus transportation is available the week students attend in-person instruction at school.

Green Model: Students attend in-person instruction Monday through Friday at school. Masks, social distancing, and other safety protocols may still apply. 

Q: What is the hybrid model schedule students will follow after the fall semester and pending public health orders?

A: Students will go to school Tuesday-Friday on an every-other-week rotation, pending orders from the governor. Mondays, all students will learn online so crews can deep clean the school.

Elementary students will be first to return to the classroom, followed by middle school students and eventually high school students.

  • Group A: The first week of school for students whose last names begin with A-L is Tuesday, Sept. 8, through Sept. 11.
  • Group B: The first week of school for students whose last names begin with M-Z is Tuesday, Sept. 15, through Friday, Sept. 18.
  • Students will take part in online and distance learning on all other days, including Mondays.

Q: Is this schedule/time-frame complete?

A: No, the schedule can be effected by the state’s public health order.

Q: What is expected of students during the hybrid schedule or “Yellow Learning Model”?

A: Students will be expected to:

  • Bring their own mask on in-person instruction days.
  • Wear their mask on the bus and during the school day (with minimal exceptions for students with documented medical conditions).  Students without a mask will be provided one, or parents will be asked to bring one to the school before the student can attend class.
  • Maintain appropriate social distance from others.
  • Frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer (upon arrival, before and after lunch, before and after recess, and at the end of the day).
  • Bring their school-issued computer device to school every day.
  • Use their computer devices appropriately.
  • Participate in their classes when learning from home.
  • Stay home if they have a temperature of more than 100.4 or any other COVID symptoms.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle as drinking fountains will be off-limits.
  • Not share toys, books, equipment, or supplies.

Q: When will APS start checking out technology devices so students can work remotely? 

A: APS will begin checking out technology devices to all students in early August. Most students will receive Chromebooks, though some of the district’s youngest students, special education students, and English language learners may receive iPads.

Q: How will the devices be distributed? 

A: The devices will be distributed through schools, which will contact families about dates, times, and procedures. Schools also will work with families to make sure they have internet connectivity.

Q: What is the “COVID-19 slide”? 

A: An extended period without traditional academic instruction. This has more than doubled currently due to school closures in early March.


Q: Will students have temperature checks at the door before they enter school? 

A: No. However, parents/guardians should go through a checklist of possible symptoms and take their child’s temperature each morning. Students should stay home from school if they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms or have a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees.

Q: Will teachers and staff have temperature checks? 

A: Yes. Each day before work, staff is required to go through a checklist of possible symptoms and take their temperature. They should not go to work if they exhibit any symptoms or have a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees. Teachers need to arrange for a substitute.

Q: Who will have to wear a mask or face covering?

A: All students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings, unless ill-advised for medical reasons. Students, staff or visitors should bring their own masks to wear at school.

Q: Who is responsible for cleaning supplies?

A: APS District will initially supply, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer for classrooms, common areas and buses.

Each classroom will be supplied with a “Sanitation Tote” to be used to periodically sanitize their room. The school custodian should be made aware of any totes that need to be restocked and provide the refill.

Q: What do the schools interior safety precautions look like?

A: Proper cleaning procedures designed from EPA and CDC guidance on approved products and methods will be used.

  • Classrooms will be cleaned daily
  • Custodial staff will be cleaning, disinfection of high touch areas throughout the school, throughout the school day with PPE, as well as frequent disinfecting of bathrooms and regular bathroom checks for supplies will be conducted daily by custodian
  • Signs will be displayed for hygiene, masks and social distancing.
  • Staff will be advised to minimize personal items on their desks, throughout classroom and work spaces to help facilitate regular sanitation efforts, as well as to prevent accidental breakage.
  • Elevators should have no more than 2 people in an elevator at a time

Q: What happens if there is a positive COVID-19 case in a school?

A: In the case of a positive COVID case, fogging 100 percent reactive to positive will be performed within 24 hours.

  • Isolation room will be designated by the school for each facility.
  • School will be shut down until fully sanitized according to NMDOH guidelines
  • Students and staff will move to a full remote learning contingency plan during closure.
  • School will be sanitized within 24 hours and must wait at least 48 hours after sanitizing to reopen.


Q: How many students will be allowed on the bus? 

A: Buses will run at no more than 50% of capacity. No more than two students per seat for regular-size buses, one per seat on smaller buses. Siblings may sit together.

Q: Will face coverings be required? 

A: Yes. The bus driver and all riders must wear face coverings.

Q: Will there be a unique drop off and pick up time to help minimize the spread of COVID-19?

A: Yes. Schools will create a staggered parent drop off and pick up to allow for social distancing. Check with your school for more information.


Q: Will students be able to sit with each other during lunch time? 

A:   Students will sit only in designated seating areas, with the same group when possible. 

Q: Where will students eat lunch? 

A: Students will eat in the cafeteria, outside and other areas that will be designated for eating. 

Q: How often will the cafeteria be sanitized? 

A: The cafeteria will be sanitized throughout lunchtime for high touch areas by both cafeteria and custodial staff.

Q: Will lunch be provided when students are in the distance learning schedule?

A: Yes. APS will provide grab and go lunches at no charge to students who qualify or who attend any of the Community Eligibility Provision Schools. Distribution times and sites will be announced.


Q: Will masks be required while students are on the playground?

A: Yes, masks must be worn on playground and common areas.

Q: Can students bring things from home to play with while at recess?

A: No. Students may not bring balls and toys from home. 

Q: Will students be socially distanced during recess? 

A: Yes. Signs will be posted and staff may remind students of social distance protocols. Students will not be able to share toys.

Q: Will students have access to computer labs on school campuses? 

A: No. Computer Labs will be closed for use as a computer lab, they may be used as additional classroom space for social distancing.


Q: Will locker rooms and weight rooms be open for students? 

A: No. Locker rooms and weight rooms will be closed.

Q: Will temperature checks and symptom questionnaires be administered to students prior to the start of practice?

A: Yes. Temperature checks & questionnaires will be completed by students and staff before practice starts.

Q: Will students be allowed in gymnasiums? 

A: Gymnasiums will be for limited use only. They may be used for individualized conditioning and skills training. There will be a 1:5 coach to player ratio.


Parents should contact the New Mexico Public Education Department if they have any questions about the home school system.

Q: If I submit my notice of home school online, do I also need to mail it into the Public Education Department?

A: No, if you submitted your notification online, please do not mail in your registration forms. Once you submit notification of home school online, you are done.

Q: What do I need to know about a home school?

A: Home school programs are non-accredited, non-public school programs. Students who are homeschooled are not considered public school students and do not receive high school diplomas from the State of New Mexico.

Q: How do I establish a home school?

A: You must be the parent/legal guardian of the student. You must notify the state that you are establishing a home school. This can be done electronically via the home school notification database. You must do this within thirty (30) days of establishing a home school and re-notify the state on or before August 1st of each year thereafter.

Q: Will I automatically receive notification when it’s time renew my home school annually?

A: No. You need to send the state written or electronic notification by August 1st of each school year.

Q: How old must my child be if I want to home school him or her?

A: You can home school your child at any age. However, the state’s compulsory school attendance law applies to students ages 5–18. That means that once your child turns age 5, then you must officially notify the state that you are a home school operator. You must also re-notify the state annually by August 1st as long as you choose to home school, or until your child turns 18 or passes the GED.

State law requires all students ages 5–18 to attend school—either public, private, parochial, state institution, or home school—and provides criminal penalties for parents who refuse to comply with the law. (Subsection A of 22-12-2 NMSA 1978)

Q: How many of my children may I home school?

A: You may home school all of your children.

Q: What are the home school operator requirements?

A: As a home school operator, you must fulfill these requirements:

  • Be the student’s parent or the legal guardian.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED (You must also ensure that anyone instructing your child also has a high school diploma or GED.)
  • Keep a copy of your own and other instructor’s diploma or degree in your files.
  • Meet minimum instructional hours as established in Section 22-2-8.1 NMSA 1978 and Section 22-12-2 NMSA 1978.
  • Provide instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
  • Keep a copy of your child’s immunization records or objection to immunization waiver form in your own files.
  • Send electronic or written notification using an unmodified version of the PED form to the state’s Secretary of Education within thirty (30) days of the establishment of the home school.
  • Renew the home school’s establishment every year on or before August 1st by submitting written or electronic notification to the state.

Q: Where do I get books and/or curriculum?

  • The state does not provide materials to home schools.
  • You may purchase books or materials that you feel are suitable to teach your child.
  • You may request to borrow books from your local public schools, but they are not obligated to honor your request.
  • You may borrow books from your local library.
  • You may network with other home school operators in your community.

Q: Does my child who is home schooled have to participate in the state’s yearly Standards Based Assessment (SBA)?

A: No. Students who are home-schooled are not required to participate in the SBA. You may ask your district if your child can participate, but the district may refuse.

Q: Will my child earn credits towards a New Mexico public high school diploma while being home schooled?

A: No. Your child will not earn public school course credits or grades.

Q: How will my child graduate if he or she is home schooled?

A: A student who is home schooled may graduate in one the following ways:

New Mexico Diploma

  • Transfer back to public school prior to graduation and complete the state’s graduation requirements for a New Mexico high school diploma. Please keep in mind that state law provides that for purposes of transferring to a public school, acceptance of credits earned through home study courses is determined by the policy of the local school board or the governing council of a charter school. OR
  • Starting at age 16, take the GED. For more information on the GED Testing Program, please go to http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/GED_index.html.

Non-New Mexico Diploma/ High School Equivalence Certificate

  • Graduation by the parent/legal guardian
  • Graduation through a correspondence course, a distance learning school, or home school program purchased by the parent
    • Depending upon whether or not the school/program is accredited, this type of diploma may not be recognized by a postsecondary institution, so examine this option carefully.
    • As with purchasing any type of goods or services, consumers need to make informed choices. You may wish to check the Better Business Bureau for the state in which the business/school operates.


Q: Can teachers op-out of the Hybrid learning model?

A: According to Albuquerque Public Schools, teachers can opt-out of going back to school when the district enforces the Hybrid learning model. APS says they have substitutes that can be utilized to help at that time if needed.

Q: Will childcare be made available for teachers when they return to school for the Hybrid learning model?

A: The Albuquerque Teachers Federation says they’ve been in communication with the City of Albuquerque about setting up child care centers for educational workers. No official word has been released at this time.

View the Complete APS Re-entry Plan

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