Why did the state close its schools?
On Wednesday, March 11, Gov. Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency after several cases of coronavirus were reported in New Mexico. When a few more cases were reported the next day, the governor and state education and health departments called for the closure of all public schools to minimize the spread of the virus. Secretary of Education Ryan Stewart said it was a very difficult decision to make; the state had hoped to keep schools open because they provide essential services for their students and families. However, the decision was made to close schools for three weeks beginning March 16 to keep students and staff safe and to mitigate the spread of the contagious virus.
How is SGMS keeping families, staff, and students informed?
SGMS is sending emails, making phone calls, posting to the website and social media. Please make sure your child’s school has updated contact information. sims.us is your best source for up-to-date information.
Where can I turn for more information?
As with any newly emerging infectious disease, knowledge evolves with time. Early on, it is difficult to know the source of the disease, how it spreads, how effectively it spreads from person to person, and how severe the infection is. Accordingly, SGMS recommends you check the New Mexico Department of HealthExternal link MDOH and CDC sitesExternal link daily to receive current information regarding public health.
What conversations should parents have with their children at home?
We know families, staff, and students are worried. We are committed to keeping you informed and working with you to keep our school communities safe. Here are a couple of helpful resources:
Mental Health/Crisis Help
As the State of New Mexico’s professional mental health line, the New Mexico Crisis and Access LineExternal link maintains a solution-focused approach built on validation, normalization, and access to resources. This model has prepared us to appropriately respond to not only to mental health concerns, but also the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line has established business continuity plans to ensure that our services continue to operate as normal. Counselors are here to hear you 24/7 at 855-662-7474.
Do schools need to make up lost instructional time?
No. The Secretary of Education announced on Friday, March 13, that the state is waiving the statutory requirement for instructional hours, which means APS won’t need to make up the 10 missed days due to the mandated closure at the end of the school year (5 of the 15 days that schools are closed are during spring break.)
Is SGMS providing online instruction for students?
No, not at this time. Due to issues of equity and access, we cannot provide digital learning opportunities in lieu of in-classroom instruction. The state Public Education Department has made it clear that instruction shouldn’t be provided for just some students.
Are SGMS employees getting paid while schools are closed?
Yes. Employees are being paid as usual during this time.
What remote work options are available for SGMS staff?
In order to allow for social distancing as recommended by public health officials, SGMS is allowing employees to work from home. Some critical services cannot be handled remotely. Employees need to make arrangements with the Principal.
Do all employees need to be available during school closures?
Yes. Please check your work email on a daily basis and be available during the regular workday.
Please don’t bring children to work
Health experts agree that minimizing human exposure is key to blunting the spread of the coronavirus, which is why schools are closed. We appreciate the dedication of essential workers during this difficult time, but we cannot allow you to bring children to work.
Is SGMS cleaning and disinfecting schools?
Yes. While schools are closed, the custodial staff will be conducting deep cleaning of our school. This includes everything from cleaning walls from ceiling to floor to stripping and waxing floors, scrubbing fixtures, restocking all dispensers, scrubbing and polishing sinks.
Are all school and district-sponsored travel and field trips canceled?
Yes. All travel and field trips have been canceled during the public health emergency.
Should my family or I travel during spring break?
State and federal officials recommend that you reschedule all unnecessary travel. If you are considering travel, please monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel advisoriesExternal link and the New Mexico Department of HealthExternal link .