AFT NM 2020 Fall School Reentry Plan

A Year Like No Other

While there are a lot of different feelings and opinions about the upcoming school year, without question the 2020 academic year will be like no other we have experienced in our careers, or even our lifetimes.

We know the beginning of the academic year will not be without transitional challenges, especially since local districts and higher education institutions have wide discretion in the approaches they are able to take to educate students during the fall semester. Some districts and higher education institutions have already chosen to continue remote learning through the fall term, and some are waiting for further guidance from our Governor to plan their next steps towards increased hybrid, in-person instruction.

Our union, at a national, state, and local level, has been fighting to ensure local decisions are being made which not only balance your needs, but also the needs of the students and families we serve. We remain steadfast that all local educational decisions must prioritize the health and safety of the educational community. This prioritization is underscored by recent reports that almost three dozen separate educational sites across New Mexico have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 – even before many educational sites opened their doors to students.

Stand With New Mexico Educators for Safe School & Higher Education Re-Opening

The COVID-19 pandemic has been like nothing we have ever experienced, however, from the beginning of the school and higher education closures in March, dedicated public educators have been going above and beyond in service to our students, our communities, and our families.

Schools aren’t just where students take tests and get homework, they’re where they interact, learn life lessons, and develop the social and emotional skills that take them into adulthood. 

They’re also where millions of kids get meals, after-school care, and other important support – all provided by the dedicated educators who share our communities.

New Mexico educators did their best during this Spring’s remote learning, truly “building the plane while flying it,” but still, our students experienced a huge loss of learning, and New Mexico’s lack of digital infrastructure exposed our existing inequities in education.

New Mexico educators want to reopen to at least a hybrid model. Most have been impacted by the coronavirus personally, and they teachers can tell you stories of how their students have been affected.

We strongly endorse reopening if basic safety ‘must haves’ are met:

o   Physical distancing of 6 feet,

o   Increased Hand washing,

o   Face coverings and PPE,

o   Improved Ventilation,

o   Ongoing Labor/Management collaboration.

All this cannot be done on the cheap – these are the investments we mean when we talk about spending more money on education and in our communities, and less money on policing and militarization. This is the stuff that will actually be make or break for our kids.

o   Our national analysis costs out an additional $116.5 billion for instructional staff, distance learning, before- and after-school care, transportation, personal protective equipment, cleaning and health supplies, health staffing, custodial and cleaning staff, meeting children’s social and emotional needs and additional academic support for students.

o   The average school will need to see an extra $1.2 million, or $2,300 per student, to open its doors.

o   This is separate and apart from the $175 billion that all school districts need to retain their educators at a time when state and local revenues are cratering.  

o   We need federal money for this QUICKLY so that high-need districts can do their infrastructure improvements now, if we have any chance of safely reopening in the fall. 

Add your name TODAY (BY CLICKING HERE) to show you stand with New Mexico’s public educators and call on New Mexico’s school districts and higher education institutions to prioritize student and educator safety as mandatory before we re-enter the academic year. 

Disclaimer

By signing this petition, you are allowing AFT New Mexico to contact you regarding this or future public education campaigns.

Additional Resources for Educators During the On-Going COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear AFT NM Members:

It seems much longer than a week since we learned Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her decision to suspend the remainder of the academic year and move to a remote learning format.

Through this unprecedented period, we have been in constant contact with the Governor’s staff, NM PED, NM HED, and other appropriate agencies to ensure you are being supported as you continue to deliver educational services to our students, their families, and our communities.