Alibi V.29 No.31 • July 30-Aug 5, 2020 

Newscity

Education Secretary On Reopening

The News Monkey

New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart told reporters that the department is working on a plan to reopen schools and get kids back into the classroom.

In a recent interview with KOB, Stewart acknowledged the difficulties facing educators during the pandemic and said that students need to return to in-person education. “We know our kids need to be back in school,” he told reports. “We know that there is no substitute for strong in-person learning, and we also know that our kids have been out for a long time and everybody is ready to reengage in the process of getting them back in for that academic and social needs.”

Stewart raised concerns about costs associated with continued virtual teaching. According to the agency head, 23 percent of New Mexican students do not have access to a computer or smart device, and even more are without internet in the home. He said that $41 million has already been spent on connecting students to virtual classes. “Getting the fiber and the infrastructure out, especially throughout all of our rural communities, is a tens of billions of dollars, many years commitment that we can't just turn on overnight,” he said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced that she is halting in-person school until Sept. 7 at the earliest. “The data that we have about what’s happening with COVID in the state of New Mexico is far too problematic to allow for in-person education,” she said.

NMRA Files Second Lawsuit

The New Mexico Restaurant Association is continuing to battle health orders that ban indoor dining.

The group has filed two separate lawsuits against Lujan Grisham over the last week.

According to KOB a judge with the Fifth Judicial District Court in Carlsbad granted a 10-day restraining order against the governor earlier in the week, allowing restaurants to return to practicing indoor dining at 50 percent capacity. The State Supreme Court later issued a stay of that order and required restaurants to halt all indoor dining once again.

According to KRQE the group is now claiming that the state Department of Health failed to provide documentation explaining why the governor chose to ban in-person dining for a second time. In recent statements the governor has repeatedly said that she banned in-person dining because the risk of transmitting COVID-19 rises when people remain in close contact in enclosed spaces.

BLM Gives More Land for Border Wall

The federal Bureau of Land Management has been surrendering land in New Mexico and Arizona to the US Army for use in the construction of a border wall.

The Associated Press reports that the agency has donated over 600 acres of land from the two states since September 2019. The most recent donation transferred 12.7 acres in Hidalgo County to the Army to install power and other utilities there for the border wall project.