ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While Albuquerque Public Schools continue online learning, one private school welcomed students back to the classroom on Monday as students at Hope Christian School started in-person classes. The school says it’s following the state’s Public Health Order and it’s taking safety precautions. Parents were excited about the decision.
“I think that it’s just a really good thing and I think all kids need to get back into school and there are safe ways to do it and I think other schools can follow suit,” said parent Melissa Otero. Staff was seen checking students’ temperatures before they entered the building.
The school is requiring masks and is giving students a safe, socially-distanced learning space by turning one classroom into two.
Unlike public schools that had to submit reopening plans with the oversight of the Public Education Department. Private schools, like Hope Christian School, are treated more like a private business.
Students were spotted walking in wearing masks and getting their temperature checked before going inside. The school’s re-entry plan says they will be using gyms, libraries and outdoor structures in order to space out classes and students.
Parents say the plan is something other schools in the state could learn from. “I think all kids need to get back into school and there’s a safe way to do it and I think other schools can follow suit,” says parent Melissa Otero.
Just like any other business in the state, it’s up to private schools to come up with their own plans to reopen that follow COVID-safe guidelines like limiting classrooms to 25% capacity.
Eastern Hills Christian Academy opened last Wednesday. They said along with spacing out desks and removing water fountains. They are having students stay in the same classrooms while the teachers move from room to room, to keep kids out of the hallways.
“We have done our due diligence to ensure that we are following those guidelines safely so if anyone is looking and it watching I would encourage them to reach out to all the professionals in the community and review those guidelines closely,” says school administrator Rae-Ann Gergan.
The state couldn’t say just how many private schools have opened for in-person learning because private schools don’t have to submit their reopening plans to the PED or the health department. They say if they do get complaints, then the state will investigate them like any other business.
The state Environment Department says if there is an outbreak among students or staff, the Rapid Response Team would respond. Just like public schools, private schools are required to report coronavirus cases to the Department of Health.