Belen schools call for PED to separate hybrid learning, sports; athletes protest

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BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Another New Mexico school district is calling on the New Mexico Public Education Department to separate hybrid learning and sports. Tuesday, the Belen School Board met to discuss reentry.

“Sports and hybrid should have never been coupled I mean it makes no sense to me whatsoever as many of the athletes can actually be on remote the whole time they’re participating. I don’t see the logic in it; I don’t get it. They need to acknowledge the deep division they have caused in our communities, and the problems,” said Belen School Board President Elizabeth Chavez.

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A couple of weeks ago, the board decided to bring back middle and high school students on March 22. The adjusted New Mexico Activities Association calendar had fall sports beginning Monday and NMPED requires schools to be in hybrid learning for two weeks before sports can resume.

Tuesday night, student-athletes protested outside the school’s administration building. Football players say they want to go to school now. “Everybody wants to go back. Everyone is hurt at the school board’s decision. We lost our senior year. We lost so much already. They just keep taking away from us,” said student-athlete Gavin Chavez.

Some say it wouldn’t be a problem if sports and hybrid were separated. One board member raised the question, if NMPED did allow sports and hybrid to decouple, would Belen athletes then be able to participate? The superintendent said yes and there is still time for that to happen.

Belen is not the only district to ask that hybrid learning and sports be separated. Monday, the Albuquerque Public School board approved a letter to the governor asking the entities to be separate.

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