Here are the New Mexico school districts and charter schools eligible to reopen
LAS CRUCES — The youngest students at most New Mexico school districts will be eligible for re-entry next Tuesday, Sept. 8
In a news conference Wednesday, New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary Ryan Stewart and New Mexico Human Services Secretary David Scrase confirmed 50 school districts and 41 charter schools qualify to welcome students back inside buildings.
School buildings have been closed since March as a safeguard against the spread of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus, which is responsible for COVID-19. Schools have been remote learning since.
To qualify to reopen, school districts must be in a county the state deems "green."
The red, orange, yellow, green system that the state is using to evaluate counties looks at new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 and the rate of positive tests — a green county has fewer than 8 cases per 100,000 residents and less than 5% positive test rate.
MORE:New Mexico's new coronavirus health orders begin; some schools could reopen
Most counties are green. The ones that are not include Curry and McKinley, which are yellow (meaning they have less than 5% positive test rate, but more than 8 cases per 100,000 residents); Doña Ana, which is orange (meaning it has fewer than 8 cases per 100,000 residents, but more than 5% positive test rate); and Hidalgo, Luna, Eddy, Lea, Chaves, Roosevelt and Quay, which are red (meaning they don't meet either metric).
In the past week, three districts changed colors: Doña Ana moved from green to orange; McKinley from green to yellow; and Luna from yellow to red. They will not be eligible for re-entry on Sept. 8.
"The line is the line, and we have to respect that so we can be consistent in ensuring parents and teachers and the broader community we have saved conditions from the opening of schools," Scrase said.
Stewart said he is unsure how many schools are planning to return on Sept. 8, which was a target date set by Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this year.
Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said that in-person classes will be limited to children in kindergarten through 5th grade because that age group suffers the most from online learning and poses the least risk for spreading and catching the virus.
Stewart assured that NMPED will not be pushing schools to reenter even if they qualify to do so. He said it is ultimately up to the local district and school leaders to decide.
"We know that across the state across every community, public health conditions are different," Stewart said. "We know that the capacity to make sure that you're able to execute is different."
What happens if a school district within a green county reopens, and then the county goes to orange or yellow, mandating a return to remote learning? The answer isn't clear.
"We're going to work with you epidemiologist going to look at the cases," Scrase said. "Are they related to the schools or not? We don't have hard criteria for (when) a district would have to close.
NMPED recommended a three-step evaluation of closure scenarios:
- Closing a classroom in response to one solitary case;
- Closing a building wing in response to cases in a limited wing of a building;
- Closing a building in response to cases throughout it.
In each case the closed region's occupants would be moved to online learning for 14 days while the class is cleaned.
Miranda Cyr, a Report for America corps member, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mirandabcyr on Twitter. Show your support for the Report for America program at https://bit.ly/LCSNRFA.
School districts eligible to reopen
- Central Consolidated
- Cobre Consolidated
- Des Moines
- Ft. Sumner
- Jemez Valley
- Jemez Mountain
- Las Vegas City
- Los Alamos
- Los Lunas
- Mesa Vista
- Rio Rancho
- Santa Fe
- Santa Rosa
- Silver City
- Truth or Consequences
- Wagon Mound
- West Las Vegas
Charter school eligible to reopen
- Albuquerque Collegiate
- Albuquerque Bilingual Academy (ABA Online)
- Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science (AIMS)
- Albuquerque School of Excellence
- Albuquerque Sign Language Academy
- Aldo Leopold Charter
- Alma D Arte Charter
- Altura Preparatory Charter
- Amy Biehl High Charter High School
- Dzit Dit Lool School of Empowerment Action and Perseveranc (DEAP)
- Estancia Valley Classical Academy
- Explore Academy
- Horizon Academy West
- Hozho Academy
- Las Montanas
- McCurdy Charter School
- Media Arts Collaborative Charter
- Mission Achievement and Success 1.0 and 2.0
- Monte Del Sol Charter
- NM School for the Arts
- North Valley Academy
- Red River Valley Charter School
- Roots and Wings Community
- Sandoval Academy of Bilingual Education
- School of Dreams Academy
- South Valley Prep
- Southwest Preparatory Learning Center
- Southwest Secondary Learning Center
- SW Aeronautics Mathematics and Science Academy
- Taos Academy
- Taos Integrated School for the Arts
- Taos International School
- The ASK (Attitude Skills and Knowledge) Academy
- The Great Academy
- The MASTERS Program
- The Montessori Elementary and Middle School
- Tierra Adentro
- Tierra Encantada Charter School
- Turquoise Trail Charter School
- 21st Century Public Academy