Enrollment forms show SFPS parents still split on hybrid versus remote models

Education

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Santa Fe Public Schools is about two weeks away from its first day and enrollment forms are showing parents are still split on whether they want their kids to do a hybrid or remote model for the 2021-2022 school year.

If the state approves the district’s plan, all students will spend the first nine weeks of the school year doing online learning only. Now, parents are completing enrollment forms to decide whether they want their kids to continue with remote learning for the rest of the year or switch to a hybrid model.

“We’re going to do the hybrid,” Jose Perez, a district parent, said. “He needs that interaction with the other children. We already talked about social distancing, we talked about being safe.”

About 4,200 parents, which is a little more than 40% of district parents, completed the online form. At 18 of the 29 schools, more than 50% of respondents said they prefer remote learning. But, when the responses to all 29 schools are balanced out, it shows 50% of all respondents want remote learning for the entire year.

“These results are a game-changer for the District. Though we still need to contact parents we have not yet heard from, if the percentages hold, we may have to hit a reset button on our return-to-school staffing plans,” said Superintendent Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, in a statement.

Dr. Garcia said the results show the district that more parents are leaning towards choosing remote learning for the entire school year.

The responses differ greatly by school. For example, at Acequia Madre Elementary, only 24% of parents want remote learning compared to 72% at Ramirez Thomas Elementary. Dr. Garcia said the disparities between schools is mostly breaking down demographically by income.

“Not entirely, but it seems like our higher-income schools, parents appear to prefer in-person or hybrid. It looks like a majority of our schools that might have a lower income appear to prefer remote,” she said. “And I think a lot of those families perhaps are concerned about exposure, they may be multi-generational homes, they may be more parents that are out working in the community that might be essential workers that cannot work from home remotely and perhaps are concerned about the continued exposure.”

The district now has ‘Herculean’ task of getting the rest of district parents, which is in the thousands, to respond with their enrollment preferences. Dr. Garcia said more responses will help them better plan for the school year.

“We don’t want to have multiple schedules where parents are with one teacher in full remote and then have to be with a different teacher or a different set of teachers when we go into hybrid. So, we want to know now, so students can stay with their same set of teachers throughout the school year,” she said.

Based on responses, the district may need to reassign teachers to different schools to meet parents’ needs. Every parent at every school will have the option for hybrid or remote learning. “Our goal in the Santa Fe Public Schools is to meet the unique needs of each family,” Dr. Garcia said.

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