Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Excitement about seeing friends at school met with some hesitancy due to the novel coronavirus. Eagerness to keep learning virtually met with nervousness about missing something happening on campus.
Albuquerque Public Schools students have expressed a range of emotions and concerns about what the shift to face-to-face learning for students who opt in will mean for them this school year, which has been dominated by remote schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Josephine Gonzales, Highland High School band director, told the Journal that she checked in with her at-home and in-person learners ahead of schools reopening Monday.
“They have different concerns and different issues,” she said.
Gonzales said that in general, students who are learning online are relieved to have an option that limits potential exposure to the coronavirus. But there was some concern about falling behind without in-person instruction, and students were wary of the amount of time they will spend on the computer, she said.
Conversely, some students who are returning to campus expressed worry about the health risks.
“We talked about how there’s going to be hand sanitizer and how we’re going to move through the building,” Gonzales said.
Almost all of the in-person students, Gonzales said, were excited to get out of the house, meet their teachers and see friends.
“Kids are going to come in and they’re going to experience something different than they ever have, and there will be a lot of grace given,” said Kristine Meurer, executive director of APS’ Student, Family and Community Supports Division.
Meurer said there are mental health resources for students. School counselors, which every APS school has, and contracted mental health providers are available for students, whether they are learning in person or at home. Teachers are also equipped to do lessons on social and emotional issues.
If students have any issues Monday, Meurer said, they should talk with their teacher, principal or counselor.
APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said the district is asking students to make a firm decision about staying remote or learning at school, but the first week will be a grace period if families change their minds.
“On the second week, we’re asking them to commit,” she said. “There is no blended model, and you either stick with virtual or you stick with in-person.”