LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — All New Mexico public school districts are expected to be open for in-person learning this week.
The Las Cruces Public Schools started offering full-time in-person learning on Tuesday.
The state’s push to reopen gives the vast majority of parents the option of sending their children back to school after more than a year of struggling with child care, unmet special needs, at-home internet, and more report cards marked with Fs.
The Las Cruces district wanred students that school won’t be the same as before the pandemic.
“For our students who are walking back into the buildings for the first time since last year, yes – school will look different than what they remember," said LCPS interim superintendent Ralph Ramos.
Students are being told to bring their laptops back and forth each day. They should also bring water bottles as filling stations have replaced shut off water fountains. And masks are required.
Parents who don’t feel safe sending students back are allowed to keep them in remote classes this semester.
Across LCPS, there are approximately 24,000 students. Of those, Ramos said 60 percent have chosen to return to the for in-person learning.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham shuttered schools in March 2020 as the coronavirus swept across the U.S. Schools were slated to partially reopen in the fall, but few schools did as Covid-19 cases peaked, and the state adopted one of the strictest lockdowns in the nation.
On March 8, state education officials announced that schools would need to reopen during the first week of April. State health officials pushed hard to vaccinate the vast majority of teachers last month.
(Editor's note: Below is some specific guidance provided by LCPS for parents and students on the return to classes.)
Upon arrival at school, students and staff will complete a wellness check. The temperature scan will alert staff if anyone coming into the building has an abnormal temperature. Parents are encouraged to do this screening before their children leave for school, and if your kids are sick – keep them home.
Vaccination opportunities continue for staff, according to district officials who have been working with the New Mexico Department of Health since January. Nearly 1,700 LCPS staff – more than 60 percent – have been vaccinated.
Meal distribution, bus routes
Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch will continue to be available for all students free of charge. While at school, students will be encouraged to eat outside when possible. For remote students, meal pickup is available at their school site. Bus routes were amended to accommodate a shift in schedules. For elementary students, school will begin at 8:30 a.m. Middle school begins at 9:15 a.m. and high school begins at 9:05. A complete list of bus routes and schedules can be found at lcps.net/2021/04/05/bus-routes/.
Tips for students
Students are reminded that school will look and feel different as we continue to navigate through new Covid-19 safe practices. Some additional reminders:
- Students will be expected to socially distance to the greatest extent possible.
- Students and staff must adhere to face coverings and hygiene regularly.
- Bring a jacket to school, even if the weather is warm. Ventilation systems have been upgraded and some classrooms might be a little chilly as temperatures fluctuate.
- Bring your fully charged laptop or tablet to school with you every day, along with a charging cable.