ALBUQUERQUE — American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statement:
“This afternoon’s announcement by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delaying the start of in-person instruction for students and prioritizing professional development for educators is a prudent decision based on the still-rising transmission rates of COVID-19, and the advice of educational leaders and stakeholders, including this union.
“Our union has led calls for this delay to in-person instruction and professional development through local bargaining, public media campaigns, and statewide surveys, and we are thankful to the countless families and community members who have echoed these calls. We are thankful our Governor has thoughtfully heard our advice to approach any beginning of the academic year with extreme caution, prioritizing health and safety above all else, avoiding the tragic mistakes seen in other states and countries. The Governor’s phased-in approach to school re-entry outlined in today’s press conference seeks to balance safety with educational needs of our students, educators, and larger community.
“With rising rates of COVID-19 infections, we appreciate Governor Lujan Grisham’s science-based approach to the coming school year, and we stand ready to continue with our partnership with the Office of the Governor and the New Mexico Public Education Department to leverage the American Federation of Teachers’ vast national catalogue of educator-created professional development resources, curricula, and best practices to assist educators both during the current health crisis and afterwards.
“We echo the call of the Governor asking New Mexicans to wear a face mask and to be cognizant of their actions. Simply put, our students’ education depends on all New Mexico citizens doing their part and putting our students first. New Mexico’s public educators want to return to our classrooms and places of learning; however, we won’t be able to do so until it is fully safe for our students, families, and all educators.”