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Virus rocking New Mexico schools again, Santa Fe goes remote

January 12, 2022 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The coronavirus is catching up with New Mexico’s largest school districts once again.

On Tuesday, Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Larry Chavez announced the district will return to remote, online attendance for the four-day holiday week starting on Jan. 18.

In a text blast to parents, he attributed the precautions to the spike in coronavirus infections and the impact it is having on school district staffing. If conditions improve, in-person teaching would resume on Jan. 24.

“Additionally, we cannot continue to meet the state’s contact tracing requirements given such large numbers of positive cases,” Chavez said in a statement, adding that a state testing contractor “has been unable to consistently provide testing.”

New Mexico’s largest school district, Albuquerque Public Schools, has not announced any major closures of schools. But Tuesday it canceled an in-person job fair aimed at filling over 700 positions desperately needed in schools, citing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

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Virtually all districts are desperate for workers, including substitute teachers and auxiliary staff like bus drivers, nurses, and cooks.

At least 10 school districts or charter schools reported pivoting to remote on Tuesday, including in Las Vegas, Cuba, Aztec, Texico, and Bloomfield, according to a self-reported tally kept by the Public Education Department.

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Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow Attanasio on Twitter.