Santa Fe Public Schools will open all its campuses for hybrid learning starting Monday.
Yet not every school has a proportional number of teachers and staff members who volunteered to return to the classroom.
The district reported 290 teachers and support staff members opted to come back to campus, but the total at each school ranges from as many as 55 volunteers at Santa Fe High School to just one at Salazar and Tesuque elementary schools.
The hybrid-learning model offers students two days of in-person instruction with three days of remote learning.
Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica García said she hopes more teachers will volunteer over time as they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the state Department of Health has not yet authorized teachers to receive the shots.
“We’re not gonna just have like a cutoff date [for teachers to return to school],” García said. “Rather, as you’re vaccinated, whether it’s two or three weeks after vaccination to come back, people will start coming back sooner than later.”
The number of volunteers at each school will affect what learning models are used. Santa Fe High and Capital High are using a flex model with internet hubs in cafeterias and auxiliary gymnasiums, where students will be assigned to workstations for remote learning. Teachers and staff members will supervise those areas, offering academic and technological help to students when needed.
Capital has 28 teachers and staff members who will oversee 465 returning students, while Santa Fe High has just 295 students coming back to campus, with 55 teachers and staff.
Santa Fe High Principal Carl Marano said that because of the high number of returning teachers and staff, students will be able to go to school for four days of the week.
He added many students and parents indicated they are either still concerned about their health and safety or feel learning remotely from school defeats the purpose of returning.
“They are still having to get on their Chromebooks, still having to open [the Open Access application] or get on Google Meets,” Marano said. “If they were in a normal model where they could change their classes, go to live teaching, of course the numbers would be up.”
Some elementary schools will use the same model because of a lack of teachers and staff. At Salazar and Tesuque, the principals at each elementary school will oversee students in gymnasiums.
District Associate Superintendent Vanessa Romero said schools will have the flexibility to adjustment their models as the numbers of students and teachers change.
“That’s just the nature of the year,” Romero said. “We have to take it one day at a time and see how people are feeling and see what they need and do the best that we can to support them.”
Marano said if more students and teachers return, Santa Fe High will adjust to a more traditional hybrid-learning model in which students return to the classroom for in-person learning.