ALBUQUERQUE – The largest school district in New Mexico has proposed a hybrid learning plan for the upcoming school year to provide flexibility as schools attempt to safely reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Albuquerque Public Schools board announced that the school year is scheduled to begin online Aug. 12 and then switch to in-person learning Sept. 8 under the plan. Teachers and staff members are expected to return Aug. 5.
The district plans to provide electronic devices for all K-12 students who need them, and allow students to opt for an online-only learning model, officials said. Masks, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer will also be provided.
Students will be divided into two rotating groups to meet the 50% capacity rule, where one group will work from home while the other is in the classroom, district officials said, adding that Mondays will be designated online learning days so schools and classrooms can be deep-cleaned.
It is unclear how cleaning supplies, buses and other measures will be funded, officials said. District leaders have said they are expecting up to $25 million less this year compared to what was planned for before the pandemic, KOB-TV reported.
The plan will next head to the state Public Education Department for approval, but could still change depending on Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order, KOAT-TV reported.
The announcement came as the state reported 330 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 15,841.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some – especially older adults and people with existing health problems – it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.