SANTA FE, NM (STL.News) Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday visited Aspen Elementary School in Los Alamos as more students, educators and school staff prepare to safely re-enter the classroom this week as part of New Mexico’s return to full in-person learning.
“I was glad to have the opportunity to visit with students and educators today,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I know so many all across our state are incredibly excited to safely get back to class – my granddaughter Avery was no exception this morning. I look forward to a continued successful and safe re-entry and want educators and school staff to know: This state will always have your back.”
The governor was given a tour of the school by two Aspen Elementary School fifth-graders and guided through the school’s COVID-safe practices before greeting a few classes in session and speaking with educators and school staff.
The Public Education Department expects all school districts will be back in full – though families retain the option of remaining in the hybrid or remote model – this week. This comes after a month of preparation and vaccination of educators and school staff – and more than a full year after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the closure of school buildings. As of last week, almost a third of the state’s school districts were already offering full in-person learning.
On March 8, Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart announced the state’s goal of all public schools reaching full re-entry by April 5. All schools had previously been in the remote model until Sept. 8; most elementary schools were eligible for the hybrid category in the fall; all schools became eligible for the hybrid model Feb. 8; and all schools are now eligible for full reentry, which means all students can return to their school buildings for in-person each school day.
As part of the April 5 goal, the state of New Mexico committed to accelerating the vaccinations of school personnel, including educators and staff. All of New Mexico’s nearly 51,000 K-12 educators and school staff had been offered the COVID-19 vaccine as of March 31, according to the Public Education Department, which in coordination with the New Mexico Department of Health worked throughout the month of March to vaccinate all educators and school staff as part of a federal initiative to accelerate a safe return to full classroom re-entry.