ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Just two weeks into the new school year, and one school has already gone back to remote learning because of COVID-19. Parents are frustrated, but the school director says they are just following their ‘COVID Safe Practices’ plan.
Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School (CCPS) made a COVID plan last September which says if more than three percent of students and staff get COVID over a two-week period, they have to go remote. On Monday, they did; and parents are upset.
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“It’s time to move on. You’ve got the CDC, who has pretty much been the COVID bible for the last two-plus years. It’s been all over the news; the CDC is telling people, ‘Move on! Move on!’ If they’re telling people to move on and people still aren’t moving on, then that’s a problem,” says Nicole Cloud, whose daughter is an upperclassman at the school.
Some parents believe the school should be following the new CDC guidance, which changed last week and dramatically reduces many of their COVID-19 safety recommendations for schools.
The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) also sent out a memorandum lifting some restrictions on schools in the state in accordance with the CDC. This includes getting rid of the testing requirement for unvaccinated teachers, getting rid of the requirement for quarantine after COVID exposure, and no more ‘test to stay’ requirements.
Read the NMPED’s memorandum below:
However, John Binnert, the executive director of CCPS, says the bottom line is their plan from last year, which includes remote learning after a certain level of community spread is still in effect, and they have to follow it.
“I’m with you in your frustration. I was extremely frustrated having to make an announcement at the end of the day yesterday to the students who are trying to feel like they’re back to normal. It is really frustrating, and I think this is a part of that wider story of COVID-19 is still here, and as a community, we have to continue to evolve,” Binnert says.
Binnert says there is a meeting happening next week on Tuesday to possibly change the plan. He says the Open Meetings Act requires three days’ notice to have the meeting to make these changes. In an email to the school, Binnert says they will have a new pathway forward by next Wednesday. They will be seeking feedback from the CCPS community about how to move forward throughout the week.
Read Binnert’s full statement below:
A spokesperson for the NMPED says a school’s decision to go remote is entirely local and is not required by NMPED. NMPED says they will be issuing new guidance soon to urge districts to review and revise their previous COVID plans. CCPS will continue remote learning throughout the week.