Education Secretary On Reopening
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.