Survey: Las Cruces parents eager for students to return to school; LCPS staff not so much
LAS CRUCES – Nearly two-thirds of parents of Las Cruces Public Schools children want youth in a hybrid learning model when the district is eligible to do so. However, only half of employees want the same.
The survey results were presented Tuesday during the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education meeting.
LCPS Superintendent Karen Trujillo, who gave the presented, said the numbers will help guide the district in making decisions for the spring semester.
The district has stuck with online learning since school buildings across New Mexico were shut down in March as a safeguard against the spread of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus, which is responsible for COVID-19.
In a hybrid model, students have the option of going to class two days a week.
School districts in New Mexico will be eligible to offer a hybrid model if COVID-19 spread is at a relative minimum within the county.
The state measures safety in the Red-to-Green Framework.
To offer in-person classes, districts must be in a county that is "Green," meaning new COVID-19 cases are no greater than 8 per 100,000 people in two weeks plus a test positivity rate of 5 percent or less.
Doña Ana County is currently "Red," with 91.8 cases per 100,00 people and a test positivity rate of 20.3 percent.
By the numbers
According to the survey, 64% of students’ parents expressed an interest of returning to a hybrid model when Doña Ana County gets to green status.
The split between employee desire to return to in-person learning vs. staying remote was much closer. The survey reported that 49% of employees want to return to a hybrid model when the county is eligible, while 51% wanted to stay in a fully remote model throughout the spring semester.
The staff survey was conducted in collaboration with the National Education Association Las Cruces and the Classified School Employee Council of Las Cruces, receiving nearly 2,000 responses. According to the survey, top concerns for staff members are staff and student safety and potential learning loss.
Trujillo said that whether the county will be in the green status, so discussions of returning to partial in-person learning can begin, depends on the community's efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
The spring semester will start up again on Jan. 4.
"As we move into January, that is a fresh start," Trujillo said. "It's a fresh start for students who maybe did not have the most successful fall semester. It's a fresh start for our teachers to say, 'Alright, what are minimum expectations? What is it that we're expecting as we move forward? What support do you need?'"
Also during Tuesday's meeting, Trujillo relayed that LCPS has distributed 4,000 new devices to students since Dec. 2, bringing the total of check-out devices to 12,000 across the district. Trujillo said she's glad the survey and other communication with parents has allowed them to meet their needs, especially with technology like this.
To close out the meeting, the board members and Trujillo offered encouraging words to the community and condolences to the families of staff members who have passed away recently.
"I want to thank all teachers, administration and staff, both classified and certified, for your continual sacrifice during the pandemic to serve our students," Trujillo said. "I will always be grateful, and I wish each and every one of my fellow board members and all of the LCPS community a very special and loving holidays. We should turn off our computers, at least for a few days."