SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Another major New Mexico school district announced Friday its plans for bringing students and teachers back into the classroom. Santa Fe middle and high schoolers are getting ready to go back to school for the first time since spring break of last year.
Students in all grade levels at Santa Fe Public Schools can return to class on February 22. “Preliminarily, it looks like most of our schools will have some form of hybrid starting on the 22nd,” superintendent Veronica C. Garcia said.
Garcia said it is a voluntary hybrid. Principals for each school are letting her know, by end of business on Tuesday, how many employees are willing to return in-person. Schools across the district will then use a variety of models depending on available staffing at each school to accommodate the most students on campus as possible. “I do know, anecdotally, at high school and middle school levels, there is a good enough amount in that we can be able to offer programming,” Garcia said.
Garcia said 99% of their 2,000 employees report wanting to get vaccinated, and the district is working to give them the opportunity to receive it. However, Garcia said vaccine shortages are raising concerns that 1B, the phase teachers are in, may be delayed. “We are advocating for more vaccine, but it may take several more months to vaccinate currently eligible populations based on our current supply,” Dr. Tracie Collins with the New Mexico Department of Health said Monday.
Garcia said the district is now teaming up with Christus St. Vincent to vaccinate staff. The district is also applying for its own pharmacy license so school nurses can vaccinate school employees. “We are taking it into our own hands in terms of trying to allow our nurses to get the pharmacy designation so our nurses can vaccinate,” Garcia said. “It can’t go into effect until there is more vaccine in the state, and DOH gives approval for 1B.”
Garcia said once more teachers have the opportunity to get vaccinated, the more students they can bring back. “I hope I can bring back as many as possible, and I look forward to the day we can bring them all back,” Garcia said.
Garcia said they did have one vaccination clinic through Albertson’s that got 100 employees vaccinated. She said she hopes to give all employees the opportunity to be vaccinated by spring break, but it all depends on availability. Garcia said she is presenting the various re-entry models to the school board on Thursday.