Rio Rancho Public Schools start in-person learning Monday


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Many Rio Rancho parents dropped their children off at school on Monday for the first time since the pandemic closed classrooms last spring. The brand new school, Joe Harris Elementary, near Unser and Westside, also opened its doors for the first time ever.

“Oh, she’s super excited. She loves making friends, loves everything about school. She’s very willing to learn and stuff and she’s very excited. She’s ready,” said parent Tamara Neville.

It’s set up with an iPad to take people’s temperatures as they go in, plexiglass barriers, and desks are distanced. Parents say they’re excited for their children to be back in the classroom.

“It’s a whole bunch of mixed emotions, but the one that overpowers it all is excitement. We feel really safe and secure that they’re doing everything possible to protect our kids and educate them, we’re really excited,” said parent Patrick Gabaldon.

Under the Rio Rancho Public Schools hybrid model, one group will go to class on Mondays and Tuesdays while the other will show up in-person Thursdays and Fridays. The district will deep clean on Wednesdays.

RRPS is the third largest district in the state serving more than 17,000 students and 2,600 employees. There is no firm plan yet on when middle and high school students will go back to class.

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