Taos Town Council asks school board to delay in-person learning


TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s public schools will be on remote learning at least through Labor Day. But, one town is calling for its school district to stay remote even longer. In a unanimous vote on Monday, the Taos Town Council passed a resolution asking the Taos Municipal Schools school board to commit to remote learning only for at least nine weeks.

“There were a couple of reasons why we really looked at this. We’re trying to do everything we can in our community to try to not have this spread and this is another way we thought would help,” Mayor Daniel Barrone, mayor of Taos said.

In a letter sent to the school board in late July, the town council asks Taos not to be the ‘lab rat test’ to see what works and doesn’t work in terms of in-person learning. Mayor Barrone said there are two main reasons behind the resolution. One is to make sure students don’t bring the virus home since Mayor Barrone said a lot of kids in the town are raised by elderly grandparents who are more vulnerable to the virus.

He said the town is also trying to support teachers. He said it will be easier for them to plan for nine weeks of remote learning versus having to wait closer to Labor Day to see if they’ll continue remote or move to a hybrid model.

“We were concerned that teachers were going to have to pretty much plan for two different styles of teaching, in person and on Zoom,” Mayor Barrone said. “We wanted to basically back up our teachers and say look, for the first nine weeks lets do it all online so that we can see how it’s going to proceed. You don’t have to have two different lesson plans, one that they’re going to be done virtual and one that you’re going to be doing in person.”

Jim Sanborn is the president of the Taos Municipal Schools school board. He said he can’t speak on behalf of the district or board, but that he as a board-member appreciates the motion from the town government.

“I understand where they’re coming from. I think the school board and the school district is pretty well aligned with the thinking of the town in terms of advocating for public safety and public wellness,” he said. “It shows some alignment between the community and what’s going on in schools. It sounds like they’re very supportive of us taking a conservative approach and focusing on community safety.”

Sanborn said the school board will discuss and consider the resolution at its next meeting on Wednesday, August 12. Santa Fe Public Schools is planning to spend the first nine weeks of its school year doing remote learning only.

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