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

By Lily Martin
Staff writer 

Official pleased with online school participation


Last updated 9/5/2020 at 2:11pm

Lily Martin

Although local schools are remaining in online-only mode, the parking lot at Clovis High School Freshman Academy was full with many of its teachers delivering onilne lessons from their classrooms.

Portales school Superintendent Johnnie Cain is disappointed students won't be returning to class in person for at least a few more weeks. But at least students are participating in the online approach, he said.

"Our high school has been going for two weeks, and our junior high, and we've actually had really good participation in both the schools. It's still not like being in class but at least they're going to school like they're in school," Cain said. "I think upwards of 90% have been showing up everyday."

New Mexico officials last week said too many COVID-19 cases will prevent Curry and Roosevelt counties from starting in-person classes this week, though a majority of the state's counties have been cleared for re-entry.

"It (the state's announcement on distance learning) was disappointing to us because we've planned and we've done a lot of work on this to be prepared and thinking we would be prepared for kids," Cain said. "We were thinking we were going to only bring in half of our kids anyways on an A/B type schedule. We made that decision to make it even safer. So we were disappointed because we felt like we had a good plan and our teachers were ready to get kids back in school.

"They (teachers) want them in their classrooms and they want to be teaching."

Clovis Municipal Schools issued a brief statement but declined to answer questions about re-entry.

"Our staff and administrators' priorities are with instruction and implementing public health orders, which is consuming any time that under different circumstances they might have had to give interviews and/or comments," the statement read in part.

Cain said PMS is working on plans for students in Pre-K to second grade to see their teachers in-person at least once a week, as the state allows.

"We've got some special education classes that are going 5:1 (five students for one teacher), we've also got the Jump Start program at James Elementary where we've got kids in first, second, and third grade in a 5:1 ratio there getting interventions," Cain said. "Those are our kids who needed a little extra help so we got them here already."

Education Secretary Ryan Stewart has noted the state wants to phase in earlier grades first, because they are the students challenged most by remote learning.

Other area schools also have had some younger students in class, with plans to bring in more soon, under the 5:1 ratio outlined by the state.


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