LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- With classes online, at least 12,000 students are unaccounted for in New Mexico schools, the state's public education secretary has announced.
"This has been the most challenging time that as a state, we've had to deal with during the pandemic," said Secretary Ryan Stewart.
On Tuesday, Doña Ana County's positivity rate rested at 18.10 percent, according to the state's Covid-19 public dashboard. For a school to begin the process of reopening, a county must have an infection rate of less than five percent.
"Parents want to know, 'When are our students going back to school?' said Kelly Jameson, a spokeswoman for Las Cruces Public Schools. "The reality in Dona Ana County is that we are in the red right now. We are not flattening the curve."
Jameson told ABC-7 that so far this school year, 80 LCPS staff members and 120 students have tested positive for Covid-19. Students have been working remotely since March.
"We do not want to roll back our schools even as we're making difficult choices about other sectors of the economy," Stewart said.
The majority of New Mexico students have not seen a classroom since March.
“I think it’s really important to realize that there has been so many changes this year for them and it is stressful for them," said Piper Gibson, a board certified doctor of holistic nutrition.
Gibson plays another role: parenting two Las Cruces teenagers.
"It’s been really difficult to watch them go through these changes," Gibson said. "To not be able to go to school, to really struggle with the stress of this online schools.”
Gibson recommends that parents:
- Help their kids process their feelings
- Limit consumption of television news
- Encourage children to get outside and stay active
- Keep a consistent schedule for their students
"Making sure the kids have a routine is really important, but the other thing about stress is that we are in this fight-or-flight mode," Gibson said. "That's the same for our children. It's really important to take the time to take a deep breath."