School Reopening Plan: New Mexico a model for other states to follow.
Under the leadership of Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham, New Mexico devises a 3 phase school reentry plan that promotes both remote and at school learning, depending on the state’s COVID19 pandemic levels.
Looking back over the past four months New Mexico has been one of a small handful of states that is leading the way in pandemic response. Multiple factors can be attributed to the State’s success. Arrid dry weather at a mile above sea level combined with the state’s relatively small population and wide open spaces has given New Mexico an advantage over more densely populated states.
Another defining advantage: New Mexico’s governor Lujan-Grisham has extensive experience in Health and was the former Secretary for the NMDOH. This professional background, mixed with a high level of intelligence and an ability to stick to her guns despite popular sentiment, has significantly impeded the spread of the virus in NM.
New Mexico again demonstrated its leadership with its plan to reopen schools this August. Similar to our state’s multi-phase reopening of the economy, our schools will also be monitored closely with mapped out guidelines for the three major scenarios: High, medium, and low. High levels of coronavirus with continued increases in cases would require a remote school platform. A moderate level of coronavirus with daily cases stabilized or on the decline would call for a hybrid opening. Finally a continued decline of the coronavirus with all areas within society reporting significant decreases would allow for a full return to school
The current plan is based upon a hybrid model. All students will return to school virtually on August 13th and will conduct all learning and studying remotely until the week of labor day. During this fourth week of school, approximately half of the state’s students will return to school for a four day week. The next week the other half of the student population will return to school for a four day week. Attendance will continue in this bi-monthly rotation most likely through the end of the year.
Close monitoring of staff and of students through daily temperature readings, self analysis questionnaires, and frequent testing will provide a system of measuring our schools’ progress and provide a clear portrait of which phase, remote, hybrid, or full return to school, is appropriate for New Mexico at any given time.
Students perform at their full potential only if they feel both physically and psychologically safe.
Unlike the current federal administration that insists on a full return to school next month, New Mexico’s state leadership is not as brash and makes decisions in real time, based on science and public safety.
Students in New Mexico continue to remain vocal, expressing their fears and concerns as the state implements its COVID19 policies: A highschool student from Albuquerque stated, “The whole school reopening policy seems like a big experiment, and I for one do not want to be experimented on and should have the right to say whether i agree or disagree with returning to school.”
Another student in Albuquerque expressed her fears, “What if I bring the virus home from school, pass it to my grandparents, and they both die?” Although an unlikely turn of events, bringing the virus home and transmitting it to other more at risk family members is a very real concern for many students.
“What if my teacher dies?” This fear as expressed by a local 7 year old, demonstrates not only the high level of esteem in which our teachers are regarded, but also shows the undo guilt and stress today’s students are faced with that previous generations were not.
Another fear as shared by a high school junior in Albuquerque: “My biggest fear is I will fall behind academically. I am currently enrolled in AP science and math classes and wonder if I will be able to understand everything on my own in a mostly virtual school experience.”
For students who are worried about being challenged and falling behind, I highly recommend proactively seeking help at tutormotion.com. New to the scene, Tutormotion.com was created and implemented to assist students of all ages during these tumultuous times. Tutormotion.com offers full service tutoring in a virtual environment that is safe. Hopefully this supplemental feature to a student’s academic life will bridge the gap, empowering individual students through subject mastery and confidence boosting.
Students across the entire nation are full of fear and doubt, moving closer and closer to school opening as each day passes, The people of New Mexico remain hopeful despite the message of fear and division coming from the Trump administration. Under the strong leadership of Lujan-Grisham New Mexicans refuse to be daunted by the negativity and exclusionary practices of the current president. We, instead, choose hope and unity. All of us working together, each helping the next man, regardless of our future, sheds light on the greatness of our nation, despite its current weak presidential leadership.