The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis school board to hold meeting on reopening


Last updated 7/2/2020 at 2:58pm

CLOVIS — The Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education will hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider how the district will reopen with the COVID-19 pandemic anticipated to weigh heavily on the 2020-21 school year.

The 5:30 p.m. virtual meeting contains two items — swearing in of new board officers and consideration of an updated 2020-21 calendar that complies with New Mexico Public Education Department mandates to open schools at 50% capacity and fulfills an NMPED suggestion to add 10 extended learning days.

The meeting is available online with Zoom meeting ID 859 3750 7259 and password 602155.

The 2020-21 calendar that is on file with the district was approved in the board’s Feb. 25 meeting. Superintendent Renee Russ said the board has the option to stick with that calendar, and noted the district may not want to open itself up to an obligation to fill funding gaps should the state be unable to cover extended learning-day expenses.

“Our board has had little opportunity to exercise local control over our instructional programs during the pandemic, and this is an opportunity for the board to make a determination reflective of the desires of our local community,” Russ told The News. “In the event the calendar is not approved, we will respond to NMPED with information about how CMS will go about diagnosing learning loss/regression and how we will provide targeted support for students who need it in the upcoming year in ways other than adding 10 days to the calendar. We would also then simply proceed with the calendar that was already approved (on Feb. 25).”

For most students, the proposed calendar would start the instructional year a week earlier and end it roughly a week later than anticipated. The brunt of changes would come in the fall semester, with students and staff falling into three cohorts:

• Cohort A would be on campus Monday and Tuesday and go virtual the remainder of the week.

• Cohort B would be virtual Monday through Wednesday, and be on campus Thursday and Friday.

• Cohort C would be entirely virtual learning.

On Wednesday, campuses would be deep cleaned between the A and B cohorts.

Russ said the district plans to release a survey this week to determine the demand for each cohort at the elementary level, and would follow it up with a similar survey for the secondary level. In each case, Russ said, “we are going to do our best to meet the wishes and needs of families to the extent possible when making cohort placement decisions.”

The goal is to transition into full re-entry as quickly as possible once the NMPED provides clearance, but Russ noted Cohort C could transition more slowly or even remain in place throughout the fall semester or the entire school year since it will contain students and staff designated as high-risk in a pandemic.

Important fall semester dates on the proposed calendar, with the current calendar dates in parentheses, include:

• Aug. 3 — New teacher orientation, teachers report (Aug. 6)

• Aug. 10-14 — First week of classes (Aug. 17-21), Extended learning (July 20-31), 1 p.m. early releases each day. Russ said the early dismissals were implemented to help ease everybody into the school environment’s numerous anticipated changes.

• Aug. 17 — Kindergarten classes begin (Aug. 24)

• Aug. 24 — Preschool classes begin (unchanged)

• Oct. 9-12 — Fall break (unchanged)

• Dec. 18 — End of first semester (unchanged)

Much of the spring semester would remain unchanged, with teachers reporting Jan. 4, classes resuming Jan. 11 and Clovis High School graduation May 23. However, the last day of school will be June 4, eight days later than the original May 27 date.

The proposed calendar still includes 170 instructional days, but has 10 additional extended learning days and combines four work days and six professional development days into nine days covering both elements. There are 192 contract days, compared to 183 on the original calendar.

The proposed calendar also keeps a 1 p.m. early release on the first Wednesday of the month from September to May, with January excluded, to allow the district to schedule professional development.


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