LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
To aid Los Alamos Public Schools in navigating through the pandemic, Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved to reimburse the school district $476,211 for the purchase of Edgenuity software as well as shade structures for outside instruction.
Council approved the reimbursement during its Tuesday night meeting.
The monies came from the $1.5 million Council agreed to set aside for COVID-19 related expenses during budget discussions earlier this year, County Manager Harry Burgess said. He added that so far these funds have not been requested for any other items.
County Manager Harry Burgess explained the Edgenuity is an online management system and the shade structures would be installed at the middle school and high school.
“A couple of points, when we went into this school year, we started with five elementary schools, a middle school … and high school. Based on parents’ requests and wanting to protect the safety of our staff and kids, we built a brand-new school in a month, which is pretty incredible,” LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said. “We got 460 students, K-12, participating in Los Alamos Learning Academy. It uses a proven curriculum tool called Edgenuity that we have used at the high school for credit recovery for many years … the second request tracks with the research we read about transmission of COVID-19 and being outside with six feet of distance – the rate of transmission goes down considerably.”
“The outside learning structures would provide shade from the sun or protection from snow and rain,” he added. “As a teacher, I’ve taught outside and I know it’s doable and our teachers are prepared to do it and are very excited about the opportunity.”
Council supported reimbursing these items and lending a hand to the school district.
“This seems really good use of the funds we set aside earlier in the year and appreciate the schools working with the County to put this proposal before us,” Council Vice Chair Randall Ryti said.
“Education and our schools are very important to our community,” Council Chair Sara Scott said, “ … providing support to schools during this pandemic will promote not just safety and education but also a needed opportunities to safely promote a sense of community for our students – that is always critical but is especially important now.”