Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

New Mexico schools will remain closed

SANTA FE (KSMX)- On Friday, March 27, Governor Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico public education will shift to a learn-at-home model as schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year. This decision, which was made in consultation with the New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Department of Health, is part of a two-pronged plan to protect New Mexicans from COVID-19 and ensure that children are protected, fed and educated and that families are supported through this crisis.

All public-school buildings will remain closed to students. Learning, through the remainder of the school year, will be carried out online or through printed packets with students remaining home. 

Secretary of Education Ryan Stewart stated via video call, “this is not something we take lightly. We have collaborated with many different departments to look at every possible avenue in how we go forth with the education of our students.”

The very first issue addressed was that of High school Seniors.

“We must keep in mind that our seniors are suffering from the cancellation of milestones such as prom and graduation. But we will make sure that their education continues so they may be successful.”

High school seniors will earn credits and achieve eligibility for graduation by completing a locally designed demonstration of competency. The PED waiver will remove the requirements for seniors to attend a minimum of 1,080 hours of instruction. All students are still required to complete at least 24 credits of required and elective coursework. End of semester final grades should be calculated, reported and transcripted.

Stewart stated that all superintendents and departments involved in the decisions moving forward, agreed that graduation ceremonies should not be cancelled but postponed until public health orders allow such activities.

 Testing:

SAT’s and ACT will allow for additional testing at later times. Colleges and other higher education institutions have begun to discuss the wavering of certain admission requirements.

A waiver for federally required assessments was submitted and approved by the US Department of Education. The federally required, state-wide, English Language Proficiency assessment was completed on March 6, before the school closures.

The PED is working to provide online remote proctoring options for those high school seniors still needing to test for the State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy. More information will be forthcoming.

Continous Education plans:

Learning plans will be technology or non-technical based curriculums. This includes grab and go learning packets, virtual lectures, telephonic read along, etc.

All avenues of conducting education plans are being explored. Officials are also looking towards legislation funding to close the gaps for students who do not have the resources for a technology-based learning curriculum.

Classes will now be on a pass or no-credit system. This is not a replacement for the traditional grading system.

 Employees:

Employees will continue to be paid, and the Secretary of Education reiterated his thanks during this confusing time but made sure to report that this is not paid time off. There will be a guidance plan for educations to adhere to the new learning plans  

“We understand this is such a. confusing time for educators and families. But we will continue to explore all options and gather feedback from administration to push forth with the education of our students”

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