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“We’re looking forward to moving in the right direction,” Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Karen Trujillo said during a Feb. 16 LCPS Board of Education meeting as she and other administrators presented a plan to re-open schools.
The board approved the re-opening earlier this month.
The plan, which Trujillo described as a modified hybrid of online and face-to-face instruction, will bring some students back into schools for limited classroom instruction, with different strategies for elementary, middle and high schools.
The plan prioritizes “students not engaging, not attending, not submitting assignments,” LCPS said.
High schools will reopen Feb. 22, with middle and elementary schools to open March 1.
“It’s extremely complicated,” said board President Ray Jaramillo. “We have to stay in yellow, we have to move toward the green for this to work,” he said, referring to the state’s red-to-green framework for monitoring COVID-19 cases county by county.
“We want to move forward, and it’s going to take everyone,” Jaramillo said.
“Full enforcement [of state health protocols] all the time,” Trujillo said, “that’s what’s going to keep us safe. The last thing we want is to open just to close.”
Trujillo said the plan is based on the voluntary return of staff to schools, adding that it ensures adequate staff at high schools to allow their participation in state-sanctioned activities.
Trujillo said 82 percent of the 1,911 LCPS employees who requested COVID-19 vaccinations have received at least the first dose, including 87 percent of nearly 1,300 school-building staff requesting it. LCPS has 3,412 employees.
“You’ve made a lot of kids happy in allowing us to proceed with this,” said LCPS Associate Superintendent Michael Montoya, a former middle and high school principal.
At Trujillo’s request, the meeting also included a moment of silence for five LCPS staff who have died of COVID-19 or COVID-related illnesses since November.