The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) released a Re-Entry Guide for public schools in the coming 2020-21 school year. Though there are still many details for the local T-or-C Municipal School District to work out, in broad strokes, the state guidelines set forth what they term a "Hybrid Model," that would include both in-school and remote learning and the numbers of students allowed in a school at any one time to be limited.
Some of the requirements laid out by NMPED, and to be adhered to regardless whether individual schools and districts are operating following a hybrid or traditional model include:
- Large group gatherings at school buildings are to be avoided.
- Face masks or coverings are required for students and staff except while eating, drinking and exercising. There is a limited exception for students and staff with medical conditions that preclude wearing a mask or face shield. These medical conditions must be documented.
- Schools must adhere to social distancing guidelines requiring a six-foot standard distance be maintained.
- All staff must be screened on a daily basis, including a temperature check and review of possible symptoms on arrival at school.
- All staff must participate in ongoing surveillance testing.
- All sites must coordinate with local health officials to conduct contact tracing and rapid response testing.
- All transportation staff and students boarding buses must wear face coverings.
- Meals must be provided to students during both in-person instruction and remote learning.
A local plan, specific to our school district is under development. With the release of these guidelines, our school's Superintendent, administrators and Central Office now have the guidance from the state that will allow for development of our local plan. This will be released as soon as it is complete. As with anything in this pandemic, both conditions, responses and planning is an ongoing and evolving thing.
Watch for a complete article in Friday's issue of the Sierra County Sentinel.