Officials: NM school districts could reopen by region

Education

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – All schools were ordered to delay in-person learning at least through Labor Day, but some districts might be able to get back to the classroom sooner than others. Officials say when the number of coronavirus cases drops, parts of the state with a lower spread rate could be the first to return to the classroom.

“We will continue to look and see if there are regions that we can move forward faster and get kids into the building faster based on the public health conditions in those regions as we go,” the state’s Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “In this remote model, we’ll get a little bit more time to see exactly how the virus is progressing statewide and regionally.”

Stewart on Friday said students can’t return while there’s a growing daily number of new coronavirus cases and a high rate of cases among people ages 10 to 19. But, officials are watching to see if some areas of the state can move forward faster based on public health conditions by region or county.

Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said part of that data comes from a modeling team that’s looking at mobility data. He says so far, it show that New Mexicans are traveling often from county to county.

“I mean, if everyone were to sign an affidavit they wouldn’t leave their county, it would be easier to pull things like that out, but we’re a very mobile society, even in a lockdown,” Dr. Scrase said at the governor’s press conference on Thursday. Dr. Scrase said in one county, for example, 75 percent of the people traveling there are from other areas.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said because kids don’t travel as much, that it’s feasible to reopen schools by region when case numbers drop. “As we see trends, if we do better than we think we’re going to do, we can take a look at it again,” she said, adding that in about a month, officials will have a better idea about the plan for in-person learning while considering the spread rate.

Students with disabilities are allowed to return to school for in-person learning in small groups before labor day. The Public Education Department said the state will continue to offer breakfasts and lunches for students and is looking at how to increase internet access statewide.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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