LAHS And LAMS Pass COVID-19 Safe Inspections … Moving Step Closer To Returning Older Students Back To Campus

LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus

By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post
bjgordon@ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Public Schools has moved a step closer to bringing middle and high school students back to campus two days a week beginning March 1.

“We passed our COVID-safe inspection from the Fire Marshall held yesterday at the middle school and high school,” Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus announced Friday.

The Los Alamos School Board voted to adopt the Remote Plus hybrid education model put forward by the District’s staff at its Feb. 9 board meeting. The vote was 4-1, with Board Secretary Dawn Jalbert voting against the motion.

Teachers will return to their classrooms Feb. 22 for a new student orientation for 7th graders and 9th graders as well as students new to the district.

“We’ve received some criticism about why we are still meeting on Zoom while sending students back to the classroom,” Board President Melanie Colgan said. “The reason is that meeting the needs of the schools, the staff and the students is the top priority of the technical staff. They have their hands full.”

The Board passed a resolution urging the State of New Mexico to prioritize teachers and school staff for COVID-19 vaccination.

About 232 staff members, some 31 percent have been vaccinated so far, Steinhaus said.

Under the Remote Plus model, students and the high school and middle school will be divided in two cohorts, Board Vice-president Ellen Specter (formerly Ben-Naim) explained. One cohort will attend in person Monday and Tuesday and the second Thursday and Friday. Online education will continue on the other days.

“About two-thirds of the students have elected to return to the classroom,” Specter said. “The other third have decided to continue fully online.”

About nine students at a time will be in the classroom, she said, adding that elementary students will continue on their current hybrid plan.

Steinhaus gave a presentation on the actions the District has taken to insure the safe return of middle and high school students. See highlights here.

“I feel confident this will work,” Specter said. “This isn’t a perfect plan but the leadership has done a good job of prioritizing. If we let the perfect be the enemy of the good, we’ll never reopen.”

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