Parent Letter Concerning School Re-Opening

3 Dec, 2020

December 2nd, 2020

Dear TMEMS/Casita families, we would like to thank you all for all your support over the last 9 months of this pandemic. The first semester of the 2020-2021 school year has presented many challenges to all our TMEMS community. TMEMS teachers have worked hard implementing our distance learning plans for every level and parents have done an incredible job supporting their children, and our teachers, through it all.  On behalf of our entire staff:  Great job TMEMS & Casita and thank you! 

We can appreciate and respect the challenges that each family is facing with the changes that we all unexpectedly faced, starting in March, with the pandemic and quarantine. We are touched with the personal stories families shared with us over the past 9 months.  Each family’s situation is unique and their challenges and fears are too. With these individual challenges in mind and thinking forward to the continuation of the 2020-2021 school year, our goal is to provide continuous, consistent and high quality educational opportunities for our TMEMS/Casita families that respect the safety and health of all families, students and staff. 

With this goal in mind, our plan was to offer online and in-school options for TMEMS/Casita families starting in January of 2021. Unfortunately we have had to change our plan once again for in-person on-site learning. Currently we are planning to offer on-site learning beginning in March of 2021.   

There is some positive and encouraging news on the horizon concerning Covid-19 and how the state is going to recover from it.

1.    A vaccine is in the process of being approved by the FDA and we should see the approval any day now.

2.    New Mexico will be one of the first to receive the vaccines once approved by the FDA and begin the process of immunizing our citizens.

We have had to make this decision for the following reasons:

1.    Uncertainty of the amount of times we would have to close the school down.

a.    It would be detrimental to all students if we would have to close the school every time we get a case of Covid-19 in our population of students and families.  Currently, we would have to close down the school for at least (3) three days for every case.  With a population of 450 students, this could lead to closures every week and would cause families, students and staff to not be able to have any consistency in their day-to-day education.

b.    If cases go above State gating criteria, the State would close us down. As shown in other states, as schools open, cases of Covid-19 rise dramatically. Who knows how many times that would be? Again, the inconsistency creates many issues for everyone involved.

2.    Staff health & safety concerns.  We have multiple staff members who are considered high risk individuals.

a.    We do not have enough staff to cover a fellow staff member if they are unable to work or have to quarantine for 14 days.

b.    We want to keep our staff as safe as possible.

c.    We feel that by giving our staff a plan that does not change every week, the education program will be more consistent, higher quality and more successful for all students.

d.    Teachers can plan for one type of educational program delivery, versus being spread between the different hybrid and online options.

3.    Student health & safety

a.    We feel that by giving our students a plan that does not change every week they will be more successful, academically and emotionally.

b.    Safety of our students is very important to us and we feel by staying online for the time being, it is the best way to keep them safe.

4.    The State’s criteria for re-opening of a School is based on the color of the county in which the school located.  The county must be yellow to begin Hybrid model and green for full onsite learning.

a.    We are located in Bernalillo County which is currently red.

b.    We do not see the county turning green until a vaccine is readily available.

We will continue to have a robust on-line program that will only continue to get stronger. Our staff is as committed as ever to not only the academic goals for our students, but also the social and emotional components of education. Our teachers and staff are just a phone call or email away to help support you and your child through this. We realize the online-only program may not be your families current preference however we hope you can appreciate the difficult decisions our Administration is faced with in maintaining a safe, healthy environment for our students and staff.

On a monthly basis, our Administration will continue to monitor the conditions in our State and look at the possibility of returning to on-site learning. 

Your continued support is invaluable in creating the best environment possible for our biggest asset: our students.  Please know that we are committed to supporting TMEMS/Casita families through this. 

Please contact our administrators if you or your students need support. 

In partnership,

Mary Jane Besante

Stan Albrycht