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Las Cruces Catholic School is in-person and virus free, but LCPS could stay online all semester

las cruces catholic school student
A student in class with her mask at Las Cruces Catholic School during the pandemic.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- After four weeks of face-to-face instruction, Las Cruces Catholic School has had no reported cases of Covid-19.

"Our kids are so happy to be in school, to be interacting with their friends, to be learning in real time with their teachers," said Adrian Galaz, the school's principal.

The private school requires masks, temperature checks and frequent handwashing. Galaz estimates 70 percent of his students are attending school in person.

"Even though we are a smaller campus, we're hoping to provide somewhat of a blueprint for other schools to follow," the principal said.

However, Galaz has a campus of 215 students. Las Cruces Public Schools has a district of 25,000 students.

"Let's say we had one positive case or two positive cases at a given school," said LCPS Superintendent Karen Trujillo. "That would mean that we would either have to close down that classroom or close down that wing of the school or potentially have to close down that whole school."

Trujillo told ABC-7 she will ask board members to remain online for the entire semester at Tuesday's school board meeting,

"We can start and then something could happen and we would have to be remote for two weeks," the superintendent explained. "The back-and-forth was not appealing."

Just last week, a Mayfield High School staffer tested positive for the virus. Four staff members at Fairacres Elementary School also recently tested positive.

"To have eight positive cases in six months says a lot for what we're doing, for our school safety and staff safety," Trujillo said.

It's ultimately up to board members to vote Tuesday on whether the district will continue online instruction for the duration of the semester or transition to a hybrid model.

If the board members do vote for a hybrid model, students will return on October 19th, Trujillo said.

If LCPS does stay online, the superintendent told ABC-7 the district will still teach at-risk, bilingual and special needs students in person on a five to one ratio.

"If those students need to be served, we need to make sure we have the staff to serve them," Trujillo said.

Across town, the textbooks are open and the kindergarteners are scribbling their crayons at Las Cruces Catholic School.

"We understand our responsibility," Galaz said. "We don't want to be careless in what we're doing. We want to hopefully provide an opportunity for other schools to follow suit."

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.


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