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School Reentry Guidance & Family FAQs
Updated: June 23, 2020
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) released a comprehensive School Reentry Guidance document. The guidance contains considerations and recommendations for New Mexico’s schools as they craft reopening plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Topics include: an outline of the phased approach to reentry, principles and requirements for reentry, COVID-19 safe operating categories and suggestions, and information about transportation, meals, high-risk populations, and more. The complete reentry guidance can be reviewed here on the PED website. Individual schools and districts will create specific plans for continuous learning that are responsive to their community needs and circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions about School Reentry
What family supports are available?
There are a number of resources available to students and families as we return to school. The PED has included a list of social emotional learning resources in the guidance document and encourages schools to recognize and attend to trauma and grief that students, families, and educators may be facing. Please reach out to your school counselor, family engagement coordinator, or community schools coordinator for additional information about local resources. For more information and guidance on finding a local, School-Based Health Center, please visit: https://www.nmasbhc.org/school-based-health-centers/sbhc-directory/.
How do I know what category my school or district is in?
Schools are placed in a category based on analysis of the available health data and under guidance of medical experts. The PED has identified three categories for school reentry: Remote (red), Hybrid (yellow), Full Reentry (green). Beginning at the start of August, all schools will begin in the Hybrid (yellow) category for an initial period. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) will monitor the spread of the virus during this initial phase. Schools will move into the Full Reentry (green) phase if there is not a significant increase in the spread of the virus during this time. Schools or regions experiencing significant spread of the virus may remain in the Hybrid model or move to the Remote model if that is determined to be necessary by state public health officials.
Furthermore, the state will assess the impact of school reentry on the rate of spread of the virus statewide and in each of the five regions. When the overall state data indicate it is safe to transition a full school schedule, the regions will be able to do so as well. Our preference is to move together as a state if the data supports general advancement toward a safe, full reentry, but if an individual region’s data suggests that reentry would be unsafe for students, educators, school personnel and the community, that specific region will be monitored until numbers improve and we can ensure a safe return for all.
Attendance will be officially recorded on days in which students are physically present in schools. Schools will also track participation in their remote program. Students are expected to attend both the in-person and remote programs every day. The PED will provide more detailed guidance on attendance taking requirements in a future memo.
All districts and charter schools have been encouraged to invest federal and local funds to ensure that every student has a digital device and, if needed, a mobile hotspot or other support for internet connectivity. It is expected that during Hybrid and Remote modes of operation, districts are providing a full online program. The PED has provided guidance on a variety of remote and hybrid learning models. Local consideration will be given to logistics, daycare, prioritization of student groups, and more.
What if I don’t have access to the internet or a learning device at home?
All districts and charter schools have been encouraged to invest federal and local funds to ensure that every student has a digital device and, if needed, a mobile hotspot or other support for internet connectivity. In addition, schools and districts are encouraged to provide internet accessible areas such as school parking lots or bus stops, to download information and assignments. Furthermore, printable learning materials should be offered, when needed and appropriate.
What if I can’t afford PPE like masks for my child(ren)?
Schools have been asked to implement the face covering requirement similar to a uniform policy. Families are asked to provide their own, but schools should provide a face covering to those who need them or for students who forget them. The NMDOH has additional mask-wearing guidance for children here.
My child (or someone in our home) has an underlying medical condition. What can we do?
The state is working with vendors and schools to ensure that all students in the state have access to online learning options. Students with underlying medical conditions will have access to these programs. In addition, PED will offer more specific guidance regarding support for students with underlying medical conditions for those students that attend in-person programming.
What if there’s a spike in cases?
The state will continuously monitor public health data. In the event of a spike, schools will need to shift into the Hybrid or Remote learning models until the spike in cases subsides.
What is a “surveillance and rapid response testing” program?
Surveillance testing means that a set of school staff will be tested for the virus each week. This allows for ongoing monitoring and fast isolation of anyone receiving a positive test. Rapid response testing means that when a case is confirmed, health officials will work with schools to identify individuals who were exposed to the infected person and to test them for the virus.
If my child is engaged in distance/remote/hybrid learning, how will they continue to receive their meals?
PED will continue to work with schools and districts to ensure meals are made available through either a grab-and-go program or through meal delivery.
How will my child receive their special education services?
Special education services are expected to continue as stated in a student’s IEP. If a school has to move to a Remote or Hybrid model, schools are encouraged to continue allowing small groups of students with disabilities to continue coming to the school building to receive small group or individualized in-person services.
Will we have an in-person back to school night?
Schools will need to limit large groups and practice maximum social distancing. For many schools, they will need to adjust how back-to-school nights work in order to provide either a virtual option or set of small group options for back to school night.
If you have additional questions, please reach out to our engagement team at Family.Engagement@state.nm.us. Please keep in mind response times may be slightly delayed due to COVID-19 and teleworking conditions. We appreciate your engagement and patience!
Mask Guidance for Children and Youth
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are required of adults in public settings and recommended for children three and older, with exceptions for eating, drinking, exercising and medical requirements. The general principle is that masks are used to limit potential harm to others by helping reduce their risk of infection (and they may have a secondary benefit to the wearer as well).
Until there is a vaccine, masks, hand washing, and physical distancing are key practices that will help prevent the spread of the virus. Masks are not a substitute for physical distancing, which is still the most effective practice to prevent infection and should be employed as much as feasible, but physical distancing can be a challenge with younger children.
There are almost always meaningful exceptions to even well thought out rules and we should be especially mindful of those for young people. Part of keeping children safe is to also safeguard their emotional well-being. Teachers should use their professional judgment; if the emotional harm done by wearing a mask outweighs the potential physical benefit, a mask should not be worn.
Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments may have a hard time tolerating a face mask, so special precautions may be needed with these children. These children may need to maintain greater physical distance from others or may need special equipment to monitor their oxygen levels (e.g. pulse oximeter). Children who are considered high-risk or severely immunocompromised are encouraged to wear an N95 mask for protection rather than a cloth mask.
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 must be supervised if they are wearing a mask. Providers should use their best judgment on when to remove a mask if it is creating discomfort or resulting in a child touching their face frequently. If a child cannot remove the mask on their own, without assistance, even if they are over the age of 3, they should not wear a mask.
Children and staff with fever or respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms like a cough, congestion, runny nose, diarrhea, or vomiting should stay home and not attend school. Parents/Guardians should contact their primary provider or nurse hotline to discuss these symptoms. Download this file here.
Raton Public Schools Community:
You are invited to participate in the following survey regarding the re-opening of our schools in the fall.
Parents, students, school faculty & staff, and members of our community are all invited to provide feedback and insights as we prepare our local plan for our return to school.
Thank you in advance for participating and spreading the word!
Deadline for responses: Friday July 3, at 3:00 pm.
Raton Public Schools Press Release
Dr. Christopher Bonn, Raton Public Schools Superintendent
June 24, 2020
On behalf of the Raton Public Schools, I would like to first say thank you to our students,
parents, teachers, and support staff who have worked together during the last few months to
provide education to our children during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. I am aware there have
been triumphs and difficulties. The changes to our routines and lifestyles have been intense for
everyone. The Raton community’s ability to persevere and assist each other to make the best of
difficult situations continues to inspire and amaze me. It is the fabric of rural and small-town
Our district team is currently drafting several guidance documents regarding our return to school
in the fall. I will release them at the earliest possible date. I want to assure parents and
community members that Raton Public Schools is working together with our state and county
health officials and the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) to determine what
needs to be done to ensure that our schools are safe to reopen in August for students and staff.
Raton Public Schools will continue to work on reopening plans throughout the next few weeks.
Each of our individual schools serve unique communities, and we are keeping those
communities’ needs in the forefront of our conversations.
I will continue to release communication updates as they become available. If you have specific
concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your school or the district office to share those
I want to congratulate all of our graduates and their families. I haven’t had the opportunity to
meet or speak with any of you but the conversations I have with members of the community and
the staff at Raton High School are impressive. I hope and invite the opportunity to learn
something about each of you. You are alumni and are forever part of the tradition, customs,
culture and legacy of the Raton High School, the district and community.
I appreciate your time and patience concerning COVID-19 and school operations. If you have
any comments, questions or concerns please feel free to contact the district or send an email. I
wish you all a terrific summer and look forward to seeing each and everyone in the fall.
Dr. Christopher Bonn
NM Public Education Department Document with details for phased school reentry.
Hello Longfellow Families!
If you checked out a laptop from Longfellow, you may drop off your device on May 21st, from 1-3 pm on the North End drop off/pick up lane at Longfellow Elementary School.
Everyone stay safe and healthy!
What is ENGAGE New Mexico?
For many students, going from a traditional classroom to learning from home can be a real challenge. New Mexico’s Public Education Department has partnered with Graduation Alliance to provide an extra layer of support for students and families who might be struggling with these changes.
Students who choose to participate in the program will get an academic coach to work with them to answer questions, connect them with resources, and develop a plan to get on track and finish the school year strong.
How does it work?
Graduation Alliance is reaching out to students through phone calls, emails, text messages and more to get students started.
What does it cost?
There is no cost for the student. ENGAGE New Mexico is completely free to students.
How do I join?
Call 505-340-3250 or email EngageNM@GraduationAlliance.com to get started.
We will have grab and go packets for the students again Friday, May 8:
Drive Through for your Longfellow Student's Grab-n-Go instruction packets in the Longfellow Pick Up Line - North Parking
Everyone stay safe and healthy!
We will have grab and go packets for the students again Friday April 24th.
Here is the schedule for pick up times on the north end of the building:
Everyone stay safe and healthy!
RATON INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL
500 South 3rd Street Raton, NM 87740
Phone 575-445-9881 Fax 575-445-3682
April 12, 2020
RIS Students and Families,
Everyone here at Raton Intermediate School hope you and your family are safe and healthy as you read this letter. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding as we have been adjusting, like you, to the drastic changes in life during the last month with COVID-19. I am extremely appreciative of our students, parents, teachers, and staff for their positivity, flexibility and resilience during these trying times.
As you know, continuous learning for Raton Intermediate School is in full motion. Our goal is to provide continuous educational opportunities and practice for students while schools are closed but also to eliminate as much stress as feasibly possible for students, parents, and teachers. While it is our responsibility to continue to educate our children, we also want to compassionately take into consideration the variety of difficulties that our families and employees are enduring during this time.
The following information will provide details related to our Continuous Learning Plan and how we plan to continue to serve you. Our Continuous Learning Plan has been developed within the guidelines of the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) as well as the needs of our community.
Kristie L. Medina
Raton Intermediate School Principal
RHS Teachers are developing links for students to use as part of continuous learning. We will be adding links as they are available.
Kimberly Sanchez, Principal
Longfellow Elementary School
700 East Fourth Street
Raton, NM 87740
visit us at ratonschools.com
April 9, 2020
Dear Longfellow Students and Families:
I hope this finds each of you in good health and good spirits as we continue to be out of school
in this time of the National Health Crisis. I wanted to share some information with you about
the ways in which Longfellow Elementary School will be striving to continue the teaching and
learning process through the end of our scheduled school year. Our plan has been developed
within the guidance and parameters set by the New Mexico Public Education Department
(NMPED) and in consideration of the needs and resources of the community of Raton.
● Contact from the school : Classroom Teachers and Specialists (Special Education, Title 1,
and Counselors) will have already been in contact with you and your student to check in
and will continue to do so on at least a weekly basis. Teachers have also been charged
with assessing technology resources that you have available at home. Follow us on
FaceBook and our school website for ongoing announcements and information. Staff
may also utilize student email accounts as well as phone and text contacts to make sure
we are able to stay in touch.
● Continuing Instruction : Paper-based packets of instructional materials will be
distributed every 2 weeks in a Grab-n-Go from the school. These may include texts,
manipulatives, worksheets, curriculum workbooks, and materials such as crayons,
pencils, and scissors. Teachers are also starting with digital delivery of resources and
online communication for teaching. Some of the platforms teachers might use include
Google Classroom, Google Hangouts / Meets, Classroom DoJo, private Facebook
Groups, and ZOOM. In addition, there are a number of online learning resources
students will be familiar with that they may continue to utilize, such as iReady,
Accelerated Reader (AR), I Know It math, and others which your teachers will have
already started informing you about. Based on the needs determined by teachers in
their contact with you, we are issuing a small number of laptops to families to help
ensure those with internet capabilities can access these online supplements. Please
note we have a limited number of devices to check out and will be doing our best to
match the needs to that which we have available.
● Time recommendations : The recommended daily amount of time students should be
spending on paper based assignments, online work, projects, and instruction time (video
conference / ZOOM) with teachers is
○ 30 minutes per day (PreK)
○ 45 minutes per day (Kinder and 1st grade)
○ 60 minutes per day (2nd grade)
This is based on the guidelines of the NMPED. In addition to these daily recommended
minutes, remember that supplemental reading time, creative play, outdoor play, and
time for music and movement are also vitally important for your child’s continued
development and health!
● Grading : While the assignments sent out via packets as well as those issued online will
NOT be graded, teachers will be asking for responses and feedback from students to
determine their understanding and readiness for next steps in instruction. This may
take the form of online question responses, quizzes, sending in pictures of completed
projects, and other means of assessing student participation and understanding.
I wish each of you, our Longfellow students and families, health and calm during this stressful
time! Know that teachers, support staff, and administration are missing seeing you and are
greatly looking forward to being with students in school again. Until that time, we are ALL
learning to teach, learn, and stay connected in new ways. Please feel free to contact teachers
and administration with questions or concerns that arise. We will persevere through this
challenging time by working together.
With great appreciation,
Principal, Longfellow Elementary School
If you're looking for something that might help an elementary or middle school student, the following website offers
"free Social Emotional Learning Activities – lessons, activities, and printables – in the following skill areas: Communication, Cooperation, Emotion Regulation, Empathy, Impulse Control, and Social Initiation."
"These resources are age-appropriate for elementary and middle school students and are typically used in a classroom or a small group setting. And in most cases, if materials are required for the activity, they are items that you already have in your classroom or office."
Drive Through for Longfellow Students' Grab-n-Go instruction packets in the Longfellow Pick Up Line - North Parking Lot!
This Friday (March 27th)
9-10 am Grade 1
10-11 am Grade 2
11-12 noon Kindergarten
1-2 pm PreK