SFPS will return students to in-person learning on Monday, January 24th, Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez announced today. “We believe it’s in the best interests of students to return to school given that we are seeing a downward trend in positive cases reported to the district,” he said.
When SFPS announced on January 11th that it would go to remote learning for the week of January 17th, cases were rising significantly, averaging 80 to 90 per day. “Since the pause, this average is down to 30 cases per day. Going remote helped slow the spread of COVID in our schools. Given this improvement, we’re pleased to welcome students back to classrooms on Monday.” he said.
In addition to improved case numbers, he said the district has been reassured by Premier Medical Group (PMG), the NM Department of Health’s COVID testing contractor for schools, that sufficient rapid antigen tests are available to ensure student and staff safety.
Superintendent Chavez said that Desert Sage Academy is the district’s online option for parents who want their children to stay in remote learning.
Also starting on Monday, SFPS will implement the NM Public Education Department’s requirement, per the most recent toolkit, to reduce self-isolation and quarantine from ten days to five days.
Important reminders for returning to school on Monday include the following:
Students and staff should wear 3-ply disposal or KN95 masks. Masks can be obtained at all SFPS school and district sites.
Students feeling ill and/or showing signs or symptoms of being sick should not come to school. Instead, they should go to the SFPS testing site at 430 La Madera for a free COVID test. The site is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.
Students in SFPS’ Test to Stay program will test in their schools on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This optional, modified quarantine program prioritizes an unvaccinated student's in-person learning despite having a COVID-19 exposure.
Indoor/outdoor eating options for all students, weather permitting.
SFPS will continue to offer tutoring on Mondays to Thursdays for quarantining elementary students. Students are given a code to access tutoring services.
Superintendent Chavez said, “While we are continuing to see large numbers of vacancies due to COVID related absences, we will continue to make the best decisions possible with the tools at hand and will pivot if necessary when new information becomes available.”