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Albuquerque school district seeking feedback on online K-12

June 13, 2020 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s largest school district has asked parents for feedback after announcing plans to provide an online school experience for all grades because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Albuquerque Public Schools announced earlier this week that it is considering a K-12 online school instead of reopening classrooms in August to limit the spread of COVID-19, KRQE-TV reported.

“Families have definitely indicated that there is a desire for some families to keep their children home,” said Deborah Elder, the district’s innovation executive director. “We just don’t know how big that desire is.”

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For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and lead to death.

The district expects to launch an online system to collect input through a form or survey on the all-online school experience idea, officials said. It is unclear when that system would launch.

Submitted comments could help the district gauge how many kids are expected to take part and how many teachers would need to prepare, Elder said.

An online-only education is a new concept for the district, officials said, adding that it would likely rely on parents, especially for younger-aged students, but they recognize not every family would be able to do that.

“The role of the family in online schooling is very critical, it’s not ‘put your kid in front of the computer for 6.5 hours’ and they’re going to learn, it requires very active family involvement,” Elder said, adding that it won’t be a requirement. “We recognize that not every family is able to do that.”

The district is considering other options as well to begin the school year, including traditional in-school learning and a possible combination of in-school and distance learning, officials said.

In other developments:

— State officials on Saturday reported 102 additional COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths, raising the total number of cases statewide to 9,621 with 431 deaths and 172 people hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19 as of Saturday.

— Albuquerque’s transit system is resuming or expanding service on 14 bus routes that had been curtailed or reduced.

The changes effective Saturday included resuming two ART routes along the Central Avenue corridor with Saturday-type service but earlier start times, officials said in a statement.

Steps being taken to provide social distancing include running routes on limited schedules and capacity so buses can be assigned to busier routes as needed, officials said.

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