Española schools will spend the first month of the fall in a fully-remote and online setting before hopefully transitioning into a partially on-campus setting beginning in September.
At a July 16 Board Meeting, Superintendent Fred Trujillo presented an overview of the Española School District’s re-entry plan, which was published Monday on the District website.
Trujillo said that the plan is very fluid and can change daily.
A District survey of students and parents found that 78 percent of households have internet access, but only 46 percent have access to a computer or tablet, 39 percent are interested in a hybrid model compared to 61 percent for a completely remote model.
However, Trujillo warned that only 60 percent of households responded to the survey, and those that did might be more likely to have internet access.
A survey of staff found 35 percent of respondents reporting being high-risk, and another 13 percent have a household member who is high-risk.
People at increased risk for sever illness include older adults and people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions or kidney disease.
Trujillo said accommodations will be made for staff who cannot safely return to schools. During remote learning, all staff will be on campus.
Starting on September 14, students will be split into two cohort groups. One group will attend in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday and the other will attend on Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday used for sanitation.
Trujillo said the District will utilize Google Classroom for all classrooms, and will check attendance daily. Grading will return to letter grading after a pass/fail system in the spring.
He said the District ordered Google Chromebooks for all students who need one in second through 12th grade, and iPads for Pre-K through first grade, and that the District purchased Verizon Jetpack portable hotspots and will distribute them as needed.
Trujillo said in response to a question from a Board member that school officials will check students’ temperature before they will be allowed on a bus.
He said that the District purchased 25,000 face masks and 500 gallons of hand sanitizer with federal relief funding.
Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings except while eating, drinking or exercising, with medical exceptions.
The 47-page report provides details of the District’s safety measures.
“The safety and well-being of our students and staff are of the utmost importance,” Trujillo wrote. “Because of this, all precautions will be taken. We share the same concerns as all of you. We will get through this together, stronger than we have ever been.”
According to the plan, the District will coordinate with tribal leadership.
The plan provides a guide for screening students and staff. For students, each school should identify one entry point for screening students before entering the building, and a standard form will track symptoms. Isolation rooms will be established at each school.
Most of the District’s plan contains the same safety guidelines provided from the state Public Education Department.
Buses will limit students to two per seat, and require them to wear masks.
Trujillo said in an interview that the District will reevaluate whether to enter the hybrid re-entry model based on case counts and guidance from the Department of Health and the Public Education Department.
He said that they are surveying parents to see how many would use a fully-remote model.
The students participating in the hybrid model will be split 50-50 between the two cohorts, but the cohorts have not been assigned yet.
Classrooms will be split with half of students in the classroom and half watching online.
Trujillo said that schools have a heating and air conditioning system in place for air filtration and will open windows if needed.