N.M. Gov. Lujan Grisham orders delay in full school opening

by Sharon Niederman

NEW MEXICO/RATON — Owing to the increase in cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered some delays in the school calendar.

While Raton schools were expected to open on August 17, 2020 offering options of hybrid model that included both in-person and at home learning as well as a choice of completely remote learning, the governor has pushed all in-person public education at least to after Labor Day, starting Sept. 8.

At least 40 percent of districts have already paused the start of the school year, including Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Los Alamos. According to the governor’s plan, spelled out in her July 23, 2020 news conference streamed on Facebook, children aged kindergarten through fifth grade will be brought back first, because younger children are most challenged by remote learning and to prevent their falling irreparably behind, then middle school, then high school.

“The ultimate goal,” said Lujan Grisham, “is to have no hybrid models operating, rather, all students would attend full-time classes five days a week.”

Lujan Grisham also indicated that special needs students could begin instruction in small group or one-to-one settings and K-3 students could begin learning in person if no more than five students per teacher were available.

However, according to leadership at Longfellow Elementary School in Raton, staff is probably not going to be ready for that re-structuring by August 17, rather, they are looking to the post-Labor Day date to begin classes.