Logan to expand some in-person classes Monday


September 30, 2020

Logan public schools Thursday confirmed they will expand in-person classes to fifth grade starting Monday after Quay County landed in the green zone for the state's school-reopening criteria, and Tucumcari might do the same.

New Mexico Education Secretary Ryan Stewart also announced during a governor's news briefing Thursday that counties that fall back into the red zone during the next two-week reporting period won't mean an immediate closure of those schools.

The good news for Quay County, which hasn't seen a COVID-19 confirmation in more than a week, comes as New Mexico is experiencing another sharp rise in those cases and hospitalizations. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham didn't announce any new restrictions, noting: “I think we have the right public health directives out, but for them to work, the public has to follow them.”

Tucumcari Public Schools superintendent Aaron McKinney said Thursday the district might begin a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning for children from prekindergarten through fifth grade starting Monday, but that won't be decided until Friday. Schools in the county had been limited to prekindergarten through third grade.

“I'm going to meet with TES staff tomorrow and come up with the best plan to meet the needs of our students,” McKinney stated in a text Thursday afternoon.

Logan Municipal Schools superintendent Dennis Roch announced on the district's website Thursday afternoon it would welcome back all prekindergarten through fifth-grade students Monday except for those who had chosen to learn online during the first semester.

San Jon Municipal Schools superintendent Janet Gladu stated in an email Thursday her district still had not received its required inspection from the state Public Education Department and cannot reopen until the school board decides when students can return. The board's next scheduled meeting is Oct. 12.

“San Jon will not be changing our learning environment prior to October 12th,” Gladu stated.

A phone message left with House Municipal Schools superintendent Bonnie Lightfoot, who was in meetings Thursday afternoon, was not immediately returned.

Quay County had spent the previous month in the red zone, then yellow zone, for school reopenings. To expand in-person instruction, the county was required to have an average daily COVID-19 case rate of 8 or fewer per 100,000 people and a test-positivity rate of under 5%.

On Wednesday afternoon, an update to the state Department of Health's website showed Quay County to have an average daily rate of 4.3 per 100,000 and a test-positive rate of 2.9% from Sept. 15 to Sept. 28.

Neighboring Curry County, which was in the green zone the previous two-week period, tumbled back into the red zone.

The counties of Lea, Eddy, Roosevelt, Chaves and Luna – all in the southeast quadrant -- have been firmly entrenched in the red zone since the benchmarks were established.

In the state, the spread rate of the disease has inched up to 1.27, well above the gating criteria of 1.05. The rolling daily average of cases also was 171, above the benchmark of 168.

Hospitalizations from the disease also have risen 30% since Sept. 24.


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