Multiple superintendents around the state, including Scott Elder of Albuquerque Public Schools, on Thursday morning asked the Public Education Department to reconsider its edict that only schools in a hybrid learning model can participate in high school athletics this spring.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” Elder said in an interview with the Journal on Thursday afternoon. “And I know there are other superintendents who feel the way I do.”
A presentation was made to the PED from superintendents, and the PED said it would review it, Elder said.
“I’m obviously concerned,” Elder said. “Their definition is pretty restrictive.”
Elder said many educators want the PED to revise its guidelines.
“A (return to athletics) should not be linked solely to whether they are in school or not,” Elder said Wednesday night during APS’ board meeting. The board then delayed a vote on its re-entry plans and will meet again on Feb. 17.
On Thursday, Elder expanded, saying, “If you look at a district and it is making every effort it can to work kids back into school in a safe manner, then why prohibit the kids from playing? … I’ve got to have some relaxation from PED.”
The New Mexico Activities Association earlier this week established Feb. 15 as the date it wants to hear from its member schools/districts as to their intentions for this semester.
NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said districts will have some leeway, however.
“Will they play, not play, are they going to come in late?” Marquez said. “(We want to know) what their scenario is, and from there, we will make a determination on schedules. We’re just asking for communication.”
Even presuming clearance from the governor’s office, any school that shifts into hybrid won’t be able to compete in any sport for a two-week period, starting from the first day of in-person learning. The PED and Department of Health have said they plan to jointly monitor schools for any significant uptick in positive COVID-19 cases and won’t allow them to compete without first having cleared health protocols.
The NMAA set Feb. 22 as the first day football, volleyball and cross country teams can begin practices. Soccer has a March 1 start date.
LOS LUNAS UPDATE: The Los Lunas Schools Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting for Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. On Tuesday night, the board voted 4-1 in favor of remaining in a remote learning model, saying it would not meet again until March 23.
But on Thursday, Los Lunas Superintendent Dr. Arsenio Romero sent out an advisory of a new meeting, “during which (the board) will review and discuss the details of the re-entry plan, with action to be taken if deemed appropriate.”
The Tuesday decision was a somber one for football, soccer, volleyball and cross country athletes at Los Lunas and Valencia high schools, who are faced with the prospect of losing their seasons unless its school board reverses its position.
— to www.abqjournal.com